The Role of Engineers in Predictive Health Informatics
Presenter: Brett Tully
University of Oxford
Theme: Harnessing Technology for a Better World
In a global era of ageing populations, healthcare must shift its focus from effectiveness to efficacy. The burgeoning middle-class in China and India will lead to an explosion of age-related illness, magnifying the burden on an already overloaded world health industry. However, it is estimated that 40% of health services provided to people are inappropriate, inefficient, ineffective or even dangerous (Menon 1993).
Health informatics – the application of technology to optimize the use of information in a healthcare setting – aims to ensure that clinicians have access to the best available information when it is needed most. In its current form, health informatics is dominated by data mining and pattern recognition amongst existing healthcare statistics. While this approach is a significant leap forward and may be appropriate over the next few decades, the future lies in predictive, patient-specific information garnered from complex computational modelling.
Biological systems can no longer be regarded as isolated modules and a multidisciplinary, multi-scale modelling approach is necessary to achieve predictive clinical information. Biomedical engineers lie at the heart of this new approach and the computational modelling of health-related biology promises to deliver the necessary transition from effective to efficacious treatment.