MOH exploring secure platform to analyse healthcare tech data

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health will explore the possibility of providing a secure platform that will analyse technological data gathered from healthcare institutions. It may sit on top of an information technology architecture which can link up data sources from public healthcare institutions and partner healthcare organisations.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced this at the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Big Data and Analytics in Healthcare. The new platform could analyse sensor data from healthcare institutions or data which patients contribute from self-monitoring devices, for example.

"The anonymised data from different sources would be made available, and analysis and new insights for better patient care could be discovered," said Mr Gan.

MOH will start the first of a series of pilots next year to test the concept.

A combination of data from healthcare records and sensors could provide clinicians with further insights of health risks of the population and reveal new relationships between the data. Data will be anonymised so that researchers and data engineers who use it for studies will not be able to identify patients.

"As we step up our efforts in this area, we can uncover answers to questions such as 'who are those that need help?', 'who are at risk?', 'how can we improve clinical care delivery?' and 'how can we provide sustainable and cost-effective healthcare?," Mr Gan said.

But big data is not only about collecting new data from technological devices, it has to be appropriately analysed for insights. To do this, the Ministry of Health Holdings, the Infocomm Development Authority and the National University of Singapore set up a dedicated institution, the Centre for Health Informatics, two years ago to train IT and health professionals.