Big data a boon for healthcare

Updated: 2016-06-28 07:37

By Shan Juan(China Daily)

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Recognizing big data as a potential health resource, China is set to promote a new medical service model through collaboration with the internet industry, according to a government document issued on Monday.

By 2020, a big data system should be created, highlighting a unified and interconnected public health information platform, said the guidelines issued by government agencies, including the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

"The initiative won't just help improve related public health services, but will also play a big role in economic and social development," Jin Xiaotao, vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said at a policy briefing of the State Council on Friday.

Big data in health services involves people's basic medical conditions, medical service, disease control and prevention, food safety and healthcare, covering an individual's life cycle, experts said.

The health needs of ordinary people, social development and business opportunities should be taken into consideration, the guideline said.

Li Lanjuan, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China by 2020 would have the world's largest health data pool, covering more than 1.4 billion people.

"Assessment of data helps authorities devise more targeted disease prevention and health management plans," she said.

Currently, each large hospital has its own data platform, making data sharing difficult, she said.

"Data safety is the top priority for related applications, especially in international cooperation," said Zhang Feng, deputy director of the planning department of the commission.

For individuals, data safety and privacy must be ensured, he added. Big data will help people enjoy more targeted and effective treatment.