Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If It Was This Easy, How Come E-Health Has Not Already Demonstrated The Scale Positive Differences Often Claimed? Maybe In A Few More Years!

This report appeared last week:

PANEL: How collaboration on data and technology is making medicine smarter

Chris Pash Today at 9:00 AM
Big data is more commonly associated with helping business make more profit but researchers are reaping enormous benefits  in health care and medicine.
The convergence of technology and healthcare is creating opportunities across disciplines, creating partnerships and breakthroughs.
Professor Ewa M. Goldys, a physicist working in the medical field, says big data is a key to the emerging field of personalised medicine.
“Individuals are different, the biochemistry,” says the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics.
“This is related to the problem big data. The human body has about 20,000 genes but there are a lot of proteins in the human body, in the millions, many of them undiscovered.
“So to actually understand what a body is doing at a particular instance in time, that requires big data.”
The CSIRO’s David Hansen sees a huge opportunity in big data as Australia moves to electronic medical records for everyone.
“What I find particularly interesting about this whole area is how technology can actually improve health performance of health services, health costs, and as well to improve patient outcomes,” says Hansen. “There is a great synergy between health services and technology.”
The CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Centre says the federal department of Health has been looking at how a good electronic record can improve the health system and improve patient care.
Using this data set, it will be possible to make our health system more efficient and cost effective while at the same time improving services to patients. The federal government has just appointed a board to oversee the new Commission for eHealth.
Patrick Brennan, the Co-Director of BREAST and a professor at the University of Sydney, says data entry and data quality control are really important.
He agrees with the CSIRO’s David Hansen that a centralised electronic health record will be a huge help.
“The problem is that in Australia we’re not that good at it yet,” Brennan says. “If you go to Taiwan, every patient’s record is stored in a single database. And we can go in there and suddenly we can find out that this woman had breast cancer but then she smoked 20 cigarettes and she had a mammographic density of this. In this country it is much, much more difficult. Technology is helping us a lot but there is still some way to go.”
The full article - and others in the series - are found from here:
I love reading this sort of material because the closer you read what people are saying the further you realise the contributors are away from their nirvana. It always seems to be so easy in theory but the reality somehow the reality always seems to be a good deal harder.
I have to say talk of huge centralised electronic health records covering the whole nation being mined by experimenters and government makes me just a trifle nervous. I also wonder just what the quality of governance will be around this sort of initiative.
I just have the feeling, while in very constrained domains benefits may be found, it will be tricky to see the scale of impacts the discussants are imagining anytime soon. Time will tell I guess. I was glad to see there was a mention of the barriers such as data quality and data integrity - these will be major issues going forward I am sure!

1 comment:

Trevor3130 said...

This sounds familiar, from National crime database crucial to combating terrorism: Australian Crime Commission says

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is creating a national criminal database drawing together information from more than 1,000 different systems, to give police real-time access to interstate intelligence.


"We've got a two-year plan at this stage to build the foundations for a national criminal intelligence system."