Prof. Niels Peek introduced the three controversies in health data science in a well-attended public lecture at the Strathmore University on Wednesday. The three controversies discussed were; data shall be used only for the purpose for which they were collected, big data and predictive analytics should replace randomised clinical trials and to accelerate research, all medical and healthcare data should made available to data scientists. More
The controversies discussed were within the health context even though they cut across other non-health related fields as was alluded to by Prof Peek. One interesting thing that emerged out of the discussions is that there is plenty of data being generated from a number of sources. This data however, should be of integrity, be verifiable and reliable. In healthcare, those interacting with data at all levels like in health facilities must from the very onset be able to see, understand and to appreciate the value and benefits of this data, including on a personal level. Once these benefits are clear and lead to tangible outcomes like improved health care, evidence to inform policy decisions and develop guidelines, cut costs etc then they appreciate its usefulness.