Iain Buchan is Clinical Professor in Public Health Informatics at the University of Manchester, where he founded and leads the Centre for Health Informatics.
His research centres on harnessing linked health data in statistically comprehensive ways, in order to scale-up and speed-up scientific research and care service development in tandem. For example, at the world’s top health informatics conference, Medinfo 2013, his team won a distinguished paper prize for a new method of analysing electronic health record data to detect “missed opportunities” for more systematic application of care pathways.
He pioneered the concept of “eLabs” and “Research Objects” for linking data, analytical methods and teams of investigators. Some of his research is published in computer science literature and he works at the boundary between disciplines in order to drive innovation for health data science. This interdisciplinary work involves a hands-on approach such as developing algorithms as well as theory – he has written widely-used statistical software (www.statsdirect.com).
He champions interdisciplinary, team-based problem-solving, for example helping clinicians, statisticians, epidemiologists, informaticians and software engineers to work together in a loop of inductive (with machine learning) and deductive (with biostatistical modelling) approaches to research questions. This has led to discoveries from data that were not hypothesised a priori.
Professor Buchan is also working with industry partners on mobile and ubiquitous technologies to: harness novel longitudinal insights for health data science; and to enable new forms of preventive and self-care interventions.
In 2012 Professor Buchan was elected to Fellowship of the American College of Medical Informatics, which is the top international honour in the field of Biomedical and Health Informatics. In 2013 his team was awarded MRC Centre status – he directs the Health e-Research Centre (www.herc.ac.uk) and co-directs the national Farr Institute for Health Informatics Research (www.farrinstitute.org).