Israel Gives Green Signal to it’s Big Data Health Project

Big data in Healthcare

Israel cabinet has given a go-ahead to invest around 1 billion shekels ($287 million) in a big data project to prepare data about the state of health of its population which would be available to private companies and researchers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.

Almost all of Israel’s 9mn citizens belong to four Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) who store members’ records digitally, thus comprising of a huge medical database.

“This is a major asset and we want to make it accessible to researchers and developers in order to achieve two things: one is preventive medicine, and the second is personal medicine tailored to each individual,” Netanyahu told his cabinet.

Nadav Davidovitch, head of the Public Health School at Ben Gurion University in southern Israel, said the nation’s push to harness big data for healthcare had immense potential, but also highlighted risks in terms of privacy and medical confidentiality.

In an interview, he raised concern that private organizations would reap profit by using a publicly-funded database while continuing to make some medication out of reach of common masses.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office mentioned mechanisms would be put in place to safeguard information privacy, information security and restricting access as part of the government project.

Patients will be allowed to refuse the use of their information for research, the statement said.

Digital health records are priceless. Big data analytics – comparing information provided by large numbers of patients – give some of the world’s biggest drugmakers indications of how medicines perform in the real scenario.

Netanyahu said world leaders and international firms have already shown interest in the project and that the potential revenue for Israel could be in the billions of dollars.

All the world’s major drug companies now have departments focused on the use of real-world data across multiple diseases. Several have completed scientific studies using the information to delve into key areas addressed by their drugs.

Real-world evidence involves collecting data outside traditional randomized clinical trials, the current gold standard for judging medicines & interest in the field is burgeoning.

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Kalyan Banga224 Posts

I am Kalyan Banga, a Post Graduate in Business Analytics from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, a premier management institute, ranked best B-School in Asia in FT Masters management global rankings. I have spent 14 years in field of Research & Analytics.


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