Better use of data would improve health outcomes in B.C. (Dr. Julio Montaner)

Harnessing comprehensive, real-time health data helped researchers beat HIV/AIDS and the lessons learned there can be used to tackle other diseases and conditions, a conference on so-called big data was told in Vancouver Friday.

Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said that over three decades of work in HIV research, his team has learned that doctors and nurses needed to “break the silos” between sectors in health care. Focusing on health outcomes of patients made a real difference in reducing the transmission of the disease, he said.

“The only way we can do that effectively is if we have real-time data,” Montaner said in an interview following his remarks to the Data Effect conference at the Sheraton Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver. “Unfortunately, the system, the way it is set up, discourages (that).”

Derrick Penner reports.

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