National Health Intelligence – Opportunity to enable innovation of global significance

National Health Intelligence – Opportunity to enable innovation of global significance

COVID-19 is now almost everywhere. Thought leaders at academic institutes and health authorities across the globe have been reimagining the delivery of care by focusing on “predicting” and “preventing”, with an emphasis on catching the disease before it strikes. Aggregation of data analytics, genomic data, population profile, social and family history, wearable device informatics, and pixel intelligence residing in clinical and medical imaging data emphasize the value of predictive analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). However, before we embark upon considering the application of innovative technologies in healthcare, basic framework, social engagement and infrastructure challenges need to be addressed.


One of the most disturbing aspects of this pandemic is the manner in which COVID-19 has paralyzed and overwhelmed some of the world’s best health systems. The OECD’s latest Health at a Glance report shows just how much money the countries worst impacted by COVID-19 pump into their healthcare systems each year.

Northern Italy is regarded as having one of the world’s best and most efficient health systems, but it was swiftly overwhelmed by the COVID-19 tidal wave. particularly due to overburdened ICU capacity and a chronic lack of ventilators. Italy’s health expenditure is equivalent to 8.8% of GDP and Spain’s is similar at 8.9%. South Korea is similar once again at 8.1%, though it has completely avoided the faith of both Italy and Spain by moving swiftly to test, trace and isolate its confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Pakistan, where the GDP spend on health has remained lower compared to other countries in the region, the question then is how can Pakistan cope with the day to day challenges its healthcare delivery system already faces, let alone cope with pandemics and novel viruses, or become a leader in healthcare transformation?

About the author: Dr. Anjum Ahmed is a global speaker and thought leader on digital health and AI. He is the Chief Medical Officer and Global Director of Innovation and Artificial Intelligence at a Belgium based leading provider of healthcare IT solutions across the globe. Dr. Anjum has to his credit research papers and thought-provoking publications on value-based care, digital transformation in healthcare and evidence-based application of AI.
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