FITFILE CEO Philip Russmeyer on restructuring health data

The most common diseases and health conditions account for 55% of the 55.4m annual deaths. Philip Russmeyer, CEO of FITFILE, explains how data can help

Health systems contain vast amounts of data on disease causation, diagnosis, progression and - crucially - transmission. Philip Russmeyer, founder and CEO of software development startup FITFILE, believes that this is data that could be key to decreasing disease morbidity and death rates, with use cases including drug discovery, accelerated diagnostic pathways and epidemic prevention. 

However, flaws in the way that health data is stored, accessed and leveraged, means the impact of this data potential is unrealised. 

Russmeyer suggests that the healthcare sector must unlock the power of patient data by giving healthcare professionals, scientists and population health experts complete, convenient and connected access. 

 

Treating diseases with data

“Approximately 30m people die every year from the world’s ten most common diseases and health conditions, according to WHO research. Cancer alone accounts for a tragic 10m deaths every year, and hundreds of thousands more die from suicide, substance abuse and cognitive conditions,” says Russmeyer. “These are all conditions for which we should - and could - be making faster progress towards reducing mortality rates, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3. However, efforts to do this are stalling because we are failing to deploy the most valuable resource in the fight to improve global health outcomes: health data.”

By 2025, the average volume of healthcare data created every year for each human on earth is predicted to exceed 1 terabyte: equivalent to 1,300 filing cabinets full of paper. This is data stuck in silos that Russmeyer wants to see united, including with other sources of data such as activity, economic and social, to deliver hugely valuable insights for drug discovery, accelerated diagnostic pathways and epidemic prevention.  

 

Healthcare data supply

Russmeyer believes that owing to fundamental flaws in the way that the majority of global health data is stored, accessed and leveraged, these insights remain in short supply. 

“Rather than being anonymised at source, accessible and linkable via a secure single point of access, health data is spread across hard drives, inaccessible databases and internal servers in non-transferable and non-sharable forms. These digital data silos are preventing healthcare professionals, scientists and population health experts from obtaining the complete, convenient and connected data access that they need. As a result, patients are dying unnecessarily every day. We can, and must, do more with data.  

“I founded FITFILE in 2020 to spearhead international efforts to unite record-level health data, which I believe to be the preeminent public health need of our generation. Today, our team of clinical and data experts work with healthcare organisations, life science researchers and health planners to deploy proven systems with globally unique privacy preservation. These systems unlock and unite health and activity data, delivering safer, faster and better profiles of record-level health. From these firm foundations of evidence, informed decisions can be made to improve patient outcomes, save lives, and accelerate global disease eradication.”

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