The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) at The University of Auckland will be conducting a symposium on the opportunities and challenges of dealing with big data in healthcare institutions in the country at the end of the month.
“Big data applied to healthcare, or personalised medicine, will be of growing importance to New Zealand’s health services. As the amount of data continues to grow exponentially year on year, being able to link and analyse that data, to reveal associations and to interrogate vast amounts of population based data, will become an increasingly important option for clinicians. We believe the impact of this so-called big data could be hugely significant,” said Malcolm Pollock, NIHI director of business development.
According to Pollock, New Zealand has the opportunity to lead the debate on the role of big data in healthcare since it started collecting information on interactions in the healthcare system in the early 1990s.
“We have a massive set of tremendously valuable data collected over the past 20 years on the way patients interact with the healthcare system, as well as on what diagnoses and treatments have been in that time, and what their impacts have been. We also have a tried and tested privacy code to safeguard patients’ rights.”
The symposium, which will take place at the Auckland War Memorial Museum events centre on 31 October, will look to generate a discussion on whether this data can or should be applied to improve healthcare delivery.
The symposium will involve a broad range of groups including practitioners, district health boards, policy makers, technologists and consumers. Speakers at the conference include the likes of NZ privacy commissioner Marie Shroff, Graeme Osborne, director of the National Health IT Board and Dr Shahram Ebadollahi, director of IBM’s Health Informatics Research.