Gibbons, M Chris, Medical and Care Compunetics 5, 2008
Increasing evidence suggests that socio-behavioral factors are more important determinants of healthcare outcomes than historically recognized. In addition, the US healthcare system is primarily oriented to acute, hospital based, disease treatment. As such, responding adequately to the health and healthcare needs of both non-hospitalized and hospitalized patients with chronic diseases is proving difficult. Improving population level health problems like healthcare disparities is also challenging, in part because of this complex interplay of socio-behavioral, community and biologic factors within the context of the current healthcare system.
Recent advances in the computer sciences and information technologies have spawned several methodologic advances in the biological, molecular and clinical sciences (eg, DNA chip technology and microarray analysis), enabled quantum leaps in molecular and submolecular medicine, and catalyzed the emergence of whole new fields of study such as proteomics, and genomics. With the emergence of Populomics, the behavioral and population sciences are on the verge of a similar information technology-based scientific revolution. Integrating knowledge from the molecular sciences to the population sciences has the potential to propel health and disease inquiry, treatments and interventions well beyond current limitations, to yield insights and advances not currently possible. This paper briefly discusses the conceptual origins, theoretic basis and the future potential of this field.