Making Righteous Use of Health Data For Anticipated Cures


The kind of data that healthcare brings about with every passing second happens to be almost incomprehensible. It is well to be noted that by 2020, it was anticipated that the healthcare sector across the globe could go on to generate 2.3 zettabytes of data.

It is worth noting that we happen to be in the middle of a global digital health revolution. The capacity to harness this huge amount of health data goes on to promise better as well as more effective cures due to effective treatments, while at the same time making sure to free up resources that are scant which are already due to stretched health systems. The fact is that digital can very well turn out to be the key lever when it comes to sustainable development goals target 3.8 of attaining Universal Health Coverage- UHC, which is one of the three health topics that happen to be covered at a UN High-Level meeting at the UNGC this year.

When we talk of the evolving global health spectrum, the compulsion for effective as well as value-driven systems of healthcare is the highest. The rising intricacy, dearth of standardization, as well as coordination, which are teamed with some huge potential of data on health that is untapped, highlight the requirement for transformative change. Apparently, leading countries that are a part of the G20 and G7 acknowledge the significance of health data, stressing the international cooperation when it comes to digital health as well as data usage. Notably, Japan’s partnership with the EU goes on to serve as a benchmark when it comes to cross-border health data flows, syncing with standards of international data protection.

In spite of the unmatched growth in the data pertaining to health, an astounding 97% of the same is not of any use, thereby reflecting upon a distinct opportunity to elevate the performance of the health systems. The point lies in creating linkages that are sustained, transforming huge amount of information that’s unstructured into actionable insights, and thereby enhancing the data flow so as to support maximum care as well as interventions that go beyond the clinic walls.

Major issues which relate to health data access

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed gone on to teach us various digital lessons. In an international crisis, there should be the capacity to quickly collect as well as gauge huge amounts of health data in order to manage the spread of viruses. Elevated telehealth usage, contact tracing, tracking of the outbreak, virus testing, as well as medical research, all happen to generate more health data than most organizations anticipated or were even prepared for.

It is worth noting that there were three critical themes that went on to emerge- the magnitude of data; concerns related to data privacy; and the requirement when it comes to interoperability. However, it also remains crystal clear that these three factors can at times go on to conflict with each other, and therefore ensuring to find the exact balance is imperative.

With more than 2.3 zettabytes of global health data, access to the data that’s must and right is very significant when it comes to innovations like AI. That said, the siloed as well as highly regulated nature of health data goes on to possess great challenges.

Enhancing the capture of data, its sharing and usage

A recent analysis done by the World Economic Forum went on to find that a typical hospital goes on to produce 50 petabytes every year. This mass of data happens to have notes pertaining to clinical trials, laboratory tests, readings of sensors, medical images, genomics, as well as data on functions and finance. Still, 97% of all global data that gets produced by hospitals annually is unused. It is well to be noted that data happens to be the lifeblood of AI-powered research.

Notably, wearable tech, smartphones, as well as applications all go on to contribute valuable health data that’s user-generated. The fact is that such user-generated data can go on to assist the existing clinical data, thereby enabling individuals to track chronic conditions even when at home and thereby enhance the outcomes by way of offering early data access that goes on to pinpoint the exact problem right before it goes on to become serious. However, this also means ensuring consent, security, accountability, and transparency happen to be hard-wired into any system.

If the issues when it comes to the volume of data along with privacy can be overcome, then the third challenge comes into picture. Significantly, interoperability needs the custodians of the data so as to share precise and timely data in a very safeguarded as well as controlled manner by way of using a common language, while the authorized users of such kind of information, like the providers, should have the capacity to pull or, in certain cases, push data from numerous sources, integrate as well as augment that data, and then expose it in the form of aggregated information to a much wider audience. The challenge here is a lack of common standards when it comes to connected health services.

The question is, how should we go on to create a fair and balanced system that goes on to realize the game-changing potential of this humongous volume of data so as to push patient outcomes that are better?

It is well to be noted that coming up with this digital health ecosystem happens to be at the top of mind for global partners, and the process of bridging the world that is digitally divided pertaining to health systems has robust momentum, with many global bodies such as the World Health Organization- WHO, PATH, and Transform Health, among several others, defining the path and at the same time making huge strides. But there still happens to be a crucial requirement to speed up as well as amplify the effect when it comes to these efforts. Finding the solutions that are right will only take place by bringing together players from across all the verticals as well as geographies. This therefore means uniting public, private, as well as civil organizations throughout the healthcare gamut and even those from insurance, technology, life sciences, retail and consumer sectors, finance, and many more. This is what the forum goes on to do.

Developing on its longstanding commitment when it comes to systems transformation, the Forum happens to be now spearheading an initiative that’s completely focused on transforming healthcare by way of digital health, having an approach that’s completely value-driven via an initiative known as Digital Healthcare Transformation, which happens to be a natural progression from its basic work when it comes to value-based healthcare. This goes on to get digital transformation as well as high-value care together with the objective of enhancing patient outcomes.

Notably, the value driven data along with digital healthcare can indeed go on to make a great difference when it comes to delivering high-value care by way of using data as well as analytics at a level that’s entirely different.

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this year, the world leaders will unite to champion a global collaboration for healthcare transformation that’s responsible. A dedicated strategic session looks to center the global sector’s voice within key international forums such as the G20 and G7, as well as the EU agenda.