This month we talk to DHIN member Seven Guney. Seven is the Program Manager, Health Informatics and Analytics Program, The Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital.
Can you please tell us about a day in your life?
My days at work are quite active and busy managing ongoing projects, as well as establishing new projects, in the health informatics and analytics program space. The nature of these projects are mainly implementing an integrated data mart/warehouse system that will allow linking multiple data sources in a meaningful way to a single simple-to-use system to access to an integrated, near real time data for a specific medical specialty that will support clinical service efficiency, medical research and high quality patient care and safety.
I am the connector between business and digital health technology enablers. My responsibilities start with meeting with my clients who are approach us with a wish list that they would like to implement into their work practice. My clients are usually senior clinicians, researchers, medical service department heads or executives and policy makers. I interpret their needs by reviewing and analysing their work process and data flows via multiple data sources that are currently available across relevant clinical care settings.
Once I prototype a solution to recommend, the next step for me is to develop a project plan to establish the project working team with the right skills, and to establish the infrastructure/digital technology within the budget that is allocated for this project.
What does digital health mean to you and your work?
As an IT/ Clinical Analytics Enabler digital health technology means to me, a way of ensuring an integrated open source data ecosystem to be developed to access good quality data and to be shared securely among healthcare providers to provide high quality and safe patient care.
As a patient, digital health means creating a capability to my care providers to capture and access my clinical and personal information in a timely fashion using the most convenient technology (e.g. interoperable mobile devices). This means I don’t have to repeat myself every time my care provider changes. I would like my care providers and researchers to be able to know me better by analysing my historical data as well as by analysing the population who are coming from the same inheritance and genetic pool to establish more personalised care for me. Recent research shows that each individual responds differently to the same treatment.
Have you come across any surprises or challenges along the way?
It always surprises me how little we know about our health data. We live in a century where digital technology, big data and artificial intelligence have been integrated in many areas of our life such as communication, transport, finance, education etc. However, with the recent initiatives at a national and state level, I am hopeful that we can manage to bring health to the top of the ladder next to it’s partners in the digital technology world. Digital health and informatics will provide fundamental improvements in early detection of chronic conditions and establish new way of personalised care to manage chronic disease with better outcomes.
We are now at the stage where accessing full clinical data about a patient is possible. Sharing and accessing that level of health data without compromising patient privacy and confidentiality is challenging and very crucial. We have to make sure data governance policies and guidelines, data sharing accords and protocols are clearly defined from the beginning to protect the trust between care providers and care receivers.
What do you think will enable digital health projects and innovations to succeed?
I think there are three key points:
- Senior Clinicians should drive digital health technology programs and strategies; under their leadership there needs to be a team with Program Management, Clinical Systems Analyst, and Programmers for Data Extraction as well as for Data visualisation and Statisticians / data engineers for advance Analytics (Machine Learning and data mining);
- Data governance (Data sharing accord and Protocol) needs to be established with excellence;
- Infrastructure: secure, scalable data ecosystem must be implemented to allow capturing and accessing good historical and near real time data in a timely manner.
What advice would you have for someone with an interest in digital health? Any useful resources or networks they should know about?
To understand the use of digital technology in health, I recommend they seek an opportunity to observe the clinical workflow in various care settings (such as emergency, wards, theatre, community/outpatient clinics) to analyse what has been captured , who is involved and what are the possible outputs from these environments.
Finally, it’s always useful to review the following websites periodically to be aware about the recent studies, initiatives, technology in big data and digital health technology space.
A big thank you to Seven Guney. Seven is also a member of the DHIN Operations Committee.