Health advisory firm Outcomes Based Healthcare and data service provider Big Data Partnership have secured a match-funded grant for a £1 million diabetes care project from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The partners aim to support a more personalised, data-driven approach to improving health outcomes for people with diabetes.

© iStock/MarkHatfield
© iStock/MarkHatfield

Until now, big data and advanced analytics have been used in healthcare to predict cost of care, or chance of hospital re-admission. This project, the partners said, will take this technology a step further. They will create a dashboard that provides "deep insights" into disease progression, to enable doctors and patients to make better decisions about their health.

The project will use massive amounts of data to accurately predict an individual’s outcomes and allow pre-treatment of medical complications that can impact the lives of people living with diabetes, including heart attacks, strokes, eye disease, kidney disease and limb amputations.

“Healthcare systems are cracking under the pressure of ever-growing global health budgets, partly because we’re treating people with drugs and interventions, without being sure exactly who will benefit from any given treatment,” said Dr Rupert Dunbar-Rees, former GP and founder/CEO at Outcomes Based Healthcare.

“Applying data science and outcomes insight to healthcare systems can fundamentally disrupt current disease management, allowing greater precision in care delivery, and ‘pre-treatment’ rather than simply prevention.”

The project will link huge amounts of health data and non-health data and analyse it using machine learning. The software will support healthcare providers in making decisions about exactly who, when and how to pre-treat complications of diabetes, with an approach that promises to reduce costs and improve the overall health of patients.

The technology aims to empower doctors through finding patterns and correlations in the data that predict complications of diabetes, far in advance of symptoms appearing.

“Huge amounts of real data holds the secrets to many business and social challenges,” said Mike Merritt-Holmes, CEO and co-founder of Big Data Partnership. “We are able to apply the latest industry thinking and technology to big data from lifestyles, medication, environment and diet to discover a truly innovative way to approach healthcare.”

The diabetes prototype technology will be developed and tested by experts, commissioners, hospitals and GPs by Q2 2016. Once complete, it is planned that the team will apply the approach to other diseases and patient communities.