Data isn't the future of healthcare - it's already driving the present

Data isn't the future of healthcare - it's already driving the present

By Jilani Gulam | CEO - Chief Executive Officer
I was recently consulted by the Daily Telegraph to provide my thoughts on the future of healthcare and the technologies that are transforming it. Though the article has already been published here, this post is an elaboration of my thinking.

During my time at the BBC, the main focus of the technology team was the desire to truly understand the convergence of technologies and how the landscape was evolving and creating new possibilities. The challenge was to harness them.

To elaborate, nothing symbolises our modern age better than the iPhone. While accolades for it are well-deserved, the real story is the iPhone would not have been possible without the convergence of technology. The sudden commoditisation of storage, smaller processing chipsets, and longer battery life allowed the iPhone to really take off and redefine an entire sector.

Today, healthcare is at a similar point. The emergence of Big Data, cloud technologies, smartphone adoption and an explosion of data capture suddenly enable data to be triangulated (linked together and processed for new insights).

The linking and triangulation of data allow companies like Health iQ to analyse data and deliver insights previously difficult. We recently won an Industry award for a ground-breaking approach to early diagnosis of children with MPS I - an extremely rare condition. The project combined disease registry data, clinician interviews and advanced analytics to produce a novel approach that delivered diagnosis rates 3 times higher than standard approaches.

The key point here is various sources of data, though useful, only provide a selective use on their own. The real value is in connecting and combining these disparate sources, allowing for greater insights to be realised.

Previously this was a pipe-dream, but today is much more of a reality. The challenges are mired in information governance, data protection and ethics – all crucial considerations, but essentially surmountable.

Jilani Gulam ( ) is founder and CEO of Health iQ.