Centre for Health and Bioinformatics

Centre for Health and Bioinformatics

Professor Iain Buchan presents: Informatics for Health Needs Informatics of Place

Date/Time: Thursday 9th June, 13.00-14.00

Venue: Baddiley-Clark Seminar Room, Ground Floor, Institute of Health and Society, Richardson Road, NE2 4AX

As areas such as Precision Medicine attract major investment in ‘big data’ approaches to healthcare, Professor Buchan will argue that health (care) systems cannot be optimised independently of the civic systems in which they operate. He will make Public Health links between the three principal components of the mission of the UK’s Farr Institute for Health Informatics Research, namely in: discovery science with large-scale integrated health records; population-based platforms for more frequent observation and more agile experimentation; and the feedback of actionable analytics into health systems. He will show the need for informatics to enable fuller understanding of the links between health and place, in discovery, in experimentation and in managing health systems. In particular, the challenges and opportunities of combining frequent, patient/citizen-derived information with infrequent clinical observations – tapping into the rhythms of disease/life for better health promotion and care. He will use practical examples from chronic disease management in the UK to show how ‘natural’ health systems covering 2-7m population, with deeply integrated health data, and interoperable analytics, might borrow strength from each other for better predictive modelling and surveillance. He will challenge the over-simple notion of precision medicine with a future scenario whereby a patient’s ‘health avatar’ might ‘refuse’ to integrate with a care provider’s care pathway. And he will posit that scarce and precious Public Health resources might scale more effectively as ‘digital agents’ in connected health regions/systems. 

Iain Buchan is Professor in Public Health Informatics and leads the Centre for Health Informatics at the University of Manchester. He directs the MRC Health eResearch Centre of the UK’s Farr Institute for Health Informatics Research (http://www.herc.ac.uk/) and originated the Connected Health Cities UK network of learning health systems. He holds qualifications in Clinical Medicine, Pharmacology, Biostatistics, Public Health and Health Informatics, and leads a multi-disciplinary team developing and applying health data science methodology. He also writes software (e.g.http://www.statsdirect.com/). Internationally, he is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics and works through WHO, IMIA and other networks towards toward a future of more globally interoperable modelling with large-scale health data - for discovery science, for actionable analytics in health systems, and for citizen-driven healthcare.