There are some simple rules of thumb in predicting future health: If someone eats poorly, they’re more likely to end up with diabetes. If they smoke regularly, heart disease or lung cancer might be in the cards. A startup called 100Plus is taking health predictions a step further by using millions of electronic medical records and health data sets to create a health timeline of your life based on current habits.
The startup, backed by the Founders Fund and former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel, leverages public datasets from the CDC and HealthData.gov as well as 24 million de-identified records from Practice Fusion (a web-based electronic health record service) to predict users’ health. The service will be available via a free app, set to be released in beta in mid-2012.
The app is startlingly detailed, as Practice Fusion CEO (and 100Plus cofounder) Ryan Howard explains. For a man who weighs 265 pounds, for example, the app could predict that at age 45, this person will get Type 2 Diabetes, he’ll have glaucoma at age 55, and by 65, he’s probably going to be in a wheelchair due to a foot or leg amputation. All of the predictions are based on data from 100Plus’s health records.
100Plus doesn’t take into account genetic testing (like 23andme), so it can’t tell you if a genetic abnormality is going to kill you at age 50. Still, the ability to predict health futures based on millions of existing records is extremely powerful. 100Plus is also looking for partners to bring in new health data—so it’s possible that genetic information could be added in somewhere down the line.
100Plus only requires basic data input to work, but it can also factor in more nuanced data from dedicated users. If a user decides they want to eat cheesecake three days a week (and they input that information), the app will build an entirely new (probably less optimistic) prediction. "This creates a tremendous amount of accountability. It’s a crystal ball, and it gives you total foresight into everything that’s going to happen to you," says Howard, "If you say, All right, I want to go vegan, it’s going to show you the endgame."