08 March 2016

Data - that great enabler

So I'm back to thinking about Electronic Health Records. This is a complex yet fascinating area. How do we go about pulling together all the disparate strands of information, scattered in multiple systems which don't talk to each other (and often relying mainly on paper!), and presenting the results of our searches in a format that is actually meaningful to the patient and the health care professional they're meeting? The video below is Dr Larry Weed discussing the problems of source-based records back in 1971. And in the 45 years since, we are still very often faced with precisely the same problems.

But here in 2016 we have lots of advantages. We have had the computer revolution. We have multiple high-end health data systems in daily use around the world (and vendors keen to sell them). We have the internet and a relatively better-informed population. So many new drugs and medical techniques and guidelines have been worked over that our medicine of 2016 is better than it was in 1971. Yet things are not as good as they could be, nor are they as good as they should be.

What are we to do about this? I think at least part of the solution has to be to declare what Northern Ireland (or whatever region you're reading this from) actually is all about. And we've to make it about DATA. How do we know what our population needs? We get data. How do we know how to deal with a certain set of problems? Get data. How do we train doctors? Look at the data - what works, what doesn't? How do our local companies know what the market needs? Data. How do we relentlessly improve quality? How do we improve prospects for our young people? How do we help our elderly? How do we make sure our stressed resources go as far as we can make them?

The answer is in the data. We need to make Northern Ireland a data-driven society. I never want to see a patient treated poorly because decisions were made on faulty or incomplete data - particularly when the data may have already been available within "the system" but just not accessible to the decision-maker. I don't want to waste the precious time of patients or doctors or nurses, because time is perhaps our most precious resource.

I also want Northern Ireland to play a full and active role on the international stage. We have had enormous success with the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, but I want our national and international visitors to come here and find even more. I want them to find a health system, an economy, a society which is actively studying ways to continually improve.

Life is hard, the future is uncertain. We're gonna have to science the shit out of this.


  1. We are very excited to impart to you the seven principles of health. We are looking at what can allow you to live a vibrant, happy, fulfilling, and healthy life. Of course, any of the information we will share with you is purely information, not medical advice. You are however, most welcome to go and seek your own medical advice, specifically from your own health professional. But this information tells about proven methods against the test of time. Health Medical Hypnosis

  2. Sexual Health affects all areas of your life, from your career, to your relationship, to your family. When you think about it, all life starts with sex. Every woman and man on the planet was brought into the world by a woman, through sex. Though our media is fascinated with sexual entertainment, thoughtful or practical discussions of real life sexual health and happiness, especially regarding women, are avoided. Bokep