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2019 Predictions from Project Baseline and our top 5 2018 moments

| Written by:
Tina Karimi

Tina Karimi

Contributing Editor, Verily

Mapping human health starts with study participants.

As 2018 draws to a close, we're looking back on a year of evolution and growth within Project Baseline—and feeling thankful. Thanks to the efforts of our participants—the Baseline Explorers—and study teams across the country, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds toward our ultimate goal of mapping human health. And there’s more on the horizon.

Looking forward to 2019, we asked our team: how do you see Project Baseline, and healthcare, evolving in the year to come?

"Over the next year, we will continue to learn about the interplay between physical health and mental health, with respect to both wellness and illness. Evaluating and collaborating with the patient as a whole, rather than assessing one condition at a time, will enable more and more successful disease interventions."

- Dave P. Miller, Head of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

"Aside from the opportunity to create huge impact within healthcare, the most exciting part of Project Baseline to me is the people. From continuing to partner with participants in our inaugural study, to collaborating closely with patient advocacy groups and other thought leaders, I look forward to growing this community and strengthening the connections between people with diverse backgrounds and expertise."

- Kasley Killam, Community Engagement Manager

"Project Baseline is creating tools and technologies to collect, organize and analyze health information, including a rich data platform. In 2019, we expect to scale our infrastructure, enable the analysis of multiple health data streams and automate data curation. This will help us advance the mission of Project Baseline."

- Dimitrios Antos, Software Engineering Lead, Project Baseline

"My prediction for 2019 is greater democratization of clinical research. At Project Baseline and Verily more broadly, we're focused on bridging the gap between clinical research and clinical care by using technology and tools that transcend the four walls of a clinic to fit seamlessly into daily life. In addition, we partner closely with physicians and researchers to explore how scientific discovery can be translated faster into patient care, wherever a patient may be."

- Scarlet Shore, Product Lead, Project Baseline

"Placing patients at the center of healthcare requires bridging the gap between clinical care and clinical research. Through 2019 and beyond, we aim to move toward more accessible, efficient and inclusive research by approaching evidence generation in new ways. This includes removing barriers to participation and ensuring study populations reflect our communities. Ultimately, we hope these changes will help the healthcare industry get life-saving interventions into patients’ hands more quickly."

- Jessica Mega, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer

We're eager to take on these challenges and opportunities, building on the foundation of milestones we've achieved together over the past year. Here are a few moments that stand apart from the rest.

2018 in Review: Top 5 Baseline Moments

1. Baseline Explorers navigate uncharted territory

The Baseline Explorers, a community more than 2,000 strong—with many more waiting to enroll!—began returning for their first annual follow-ups this year. These visits will help our researchers track patterns in health data over time: a critical step toward advancing Project Baseline’s mission to predict and prevent disease. Most importantly, Baseline Explorers report that participating in Project Baseline is helping them learn about their health and making a meaningful difference. When asked about the impact the study has on their lives, responses included:

"I now have a much broader view of my overall health. Literally being a participant probably saved my life!"

"Being a participant has made me more aware of everyday activities and has made me want to be better, to do more exercise, and to eat healthy!"

"Being a participant has given me a sense of contribution to advancement in modern medicine."

"Project Baseline has made me have hope for my young grandchildren and future generations."

2. More precise sleep data, thanks to Explorers!

In partnership with sleep expert and New York Times best-selling author Matthew Walker, Project Baseline researchers developed a sleep diary. The purpose of this tool was to understand how objective measures of sleep, such as information gathered by participants’ sleep sensors, compares to subjective self-reports of sleeping habits.

Objective vs. subjective sleep data: what can we learn with clinical research?

While we are continuing to collect this information from new participants, we've already seen an important result. Based on participant responses, we were able to refine the sleep sensor algorithm to make the data more accurate and therefore more useful for researchers.

3. Meaningful progress in interoperable data

Interoperability, or the ability to connect data between systems, is a challenge in healthcare today. Increasingly, patients and healthcare providers are demanding a simple, fast way to marry data from different sources.

To help, Project Baseline launched a novel way for participants to share their Medicare claims records with Project Baseline. Our team was even invited to the White House to present this cutting-edge work!

Project Baseline hits the road, presenting our vision in Washington.

4. Celebrating Project Baseline's first anniversary!

Marking a year of Project Baseline with study teams and participants.

For our teams, one of the most rewarding aspects of the study was the opportunity to connect with thousands of participants and their loved ones. A coast-to-coast anniversary celebration brought together researchers, participants, and families to celebrate Project Baseline's first birthday.

5. Project Baseline in the news

Our talk at South by Southwest, Empowering People to Own Their Health, was named "best health-track panel!" Former FDA commissioner Rob Califf; Bray Patrick-Lake of Duke University; Scott Jung, Medgadget senior editor and study participant; and Project Baseline platform lead Scarlet Shore discussed the growing need to democratize research.

How can we harness the power of health data?

Project Baseline's long-term goal of preventing illness before advanced disease states manifest was also covered in the New York Times. "We have always thought that if we learn more about what your body is doing before you become ill, then we would have a much better chance of ideally preventing or at least detecting things early," said Dr. Sam Ghambir, a top cancer researcher at Stanford University.

To hear more from researchers and participants, including Rosa Gonzalez, Baseline Explorer and advocate for minority inclusion in clinical research, check out the full story.

2018 was a banner year for Project Baseline, and we're excited to continue exploring the frontier of human health. See you in 2019!

Next story: Faces of Baseline: David

Shortly after attending the Project Baseline One-Year Anniversary Celebration, David Norlander officially hit 10 million steps.