Machine learning essential to healthcare, says Orion Health

Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae said meeting the demands of healthcare in the future would require the application of sophisticated ‘big data’ techniques

Orion Health (NZX: OHE) has released report on the application of machine learning to healthcare, saying the technology will be essential to enable healthcare workers deal with an exponential increase in the amount of patient information needed to effectively treat their patients.

The move coincides with the official launch at the University of Auckland of Precision Driven Health, announced in March and billed as one of the largest data science research initiatives to be undertaken in New Zealand. It aims to position the country at the forefront of precision health globally.

Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae, said meeting the demands of healthcare in the future would require the application of sophisticated ‘big data’ techniques such as machine learning to process, analyse and surface information that will assist in creating more personalised healthcare plans.

McCrae said healthcare workers would be unable to process all this new information in a timely way and would rely on high-powered computing, using insights from machine learning. “Algorithms will interrogate vast data sets and present recommended treatment plans tailored to individuals. Essential to the application of machine learning are intelligent algorithms and rich data sets.”

He added: At Orion Health we are at the forefront of developing both areas. We have invested in the Precision Driven Health initiative, and our software manages over 100 million patient records globally, making us one of the few health software companies in the world capable of carrying out machine learning analysis at scale.”

Orion Health announced the Precision Driven Health research programme in March as “a major public-private venture between industry, government and academia” with Waitemata District Health Board and the University of Auckland as joint participants and with support from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. It said the intent was that a total of $37.8m would be invested in the programme over seven years.

The Introduction to Machine Learning in Healthcare report is co-authored by Dr Kevin Ross (PhD in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University) and Dr Kathryn Hemstalk (PhD in Computer Science from Waikato University), with an introduction by McCrae. It is available here.

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