July 30, 2019
By Ken Wieland
30 July 2019
LONDON -- The headline figures are eye-catching. According to what consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) describes as an independent report, entitled Realising the Value of Healthcare Data, clever use of anonymised patient data – advanced datamining, for example, using AI and natural language processing – could lead to an annual £9.4 billion benefit to UK taxpayers. The figure is based on improved health outcomes for patients and greater operational efficiencies for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
To keep within the bounds of patient data confidentiality,the report provides a suggested framework in which the NHS can ethicallyharness and process patient data. In short, this means that the type of datacollected is not individual patient records. “Only the processed output, whichis linked data-sets run over an extended length of time -- making it anonymous-- are of use in the advancement of medical research and improved patientcare,” said the report.
“Patient-level records will trace a complete story of apatient’s health, wellness, diagnosis, treatments, medical procedures andoutcomes,” said Pamela Spence, EY partner and global health sciences andwellness industry leader. “This can only be delivered by unlocking the power ofdata. But value isn’t in the data itself -- it’s in the power of the analyticsand the clever insights that can be generated from algorithms, and the actionsthat can be taken as a result. Value will come to those who can innovate toproduce health outcomes tailored to individuals, with high degrees of precisionand personalisation.”
The EY report stressed that analytics and predictive modelsare helping address one of the biggest costs to health care, namely thetreatment of chronic diseases. The main factors that influence the risk ofdeveloping chronic diseases include medical history, demographic and socioeconomicprofiles. By aggregating data related to these factors, the idea is to sharpen predictiveanalytics to help identify those individuals who are at risk of suffering fromthese chronic conditions.
“Advanced data mining, such as AI and natural languageprocessing, will help reveal patterns and trends that will allow health careproviders and other stakeholders to improve diagnoses, treatments andoperational effectiveness,” said the report.