9 October 2017, Technical University of Berlin

As part of the DO->IT General Assembly, Dr Jem Rashbass, National Director of Disease Registration and Cancer Analysis at Public Health England, gave a public lecture on the transformative potential of big data in healthcare.

Joined by panelists Finn Borlum Kristensen (University of Southern Denmark), Dipak Kalra (European Institute for Health Records) and Isabelle Manneh-Vangramberen (European Cancer Patient Coalition), the session made for an inspiring and thought-provoking event. The panelists responded to audience questions, focusing primarily on the implications of big data for healthcare system transformation as well as patients’ perspectives on the collection and use of personal data.

Using the cancer registries as an example, Rashbass deftly illustrated the role of data in improving research and development, care delivery and policy-making. He brought the audience along the journey of modernizing the cancer registries with the ultimate aim of delivering better health outcomes. For years, the team behind the cancer registries have been working behind the scenes to build appropriate systems as well as collect, link, quality-assure and analyse data. Data is pulled from across the cancer journey and the end result is a single system that works with a time-lag of just a year.

Rashbass made the impact of the cancer registries clear with a series of examples – from predictive tools to data visualisation resources – that illustrated how the data has been and could be turned into information and knowledge. The future, according to Rashbass, is one of personalised medicine and predictive tools which help to answer what is in his view the most important question of all: “Doctor, what will happen to me next?”