While nearly every other sector churns with rapid transformation wrought from the insights of Big Data, healthcare stagnates, stunted by a legacy of bloated, piecemeal and uncoordinated technology development.
It is a legacy present in the smallest interactions to the largest infrastructure projects. The local hospital tabulates data in a different format to the local family doctor, leading to errors in medication prescription. The traveling expat cannot access his own health data when requiring treatment away from home.
In the WHO’s 2017 report, assessing progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, lack of
empirical data is cited as one of the major obstacles to formulating the necessary policy to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”
Solving the interoperability problem is a vital prerequisite for this kind of broad-scale data collection. If every health facility in Cameroon uses a proprietary IT system – unable to seamlessly exchange data with others – how can we hope to corroborate data on every case of tuberculosis?
Without this data, we do not fully understand the problem. Without a full understanding of the problem, we cannot formulate an appropriate response.