Whilst in Ghana as part of the annual NIHR Global Surgery Unit’s Research Prioritisation workshop, we were delighted to open the Data Centre in Tamale. The Data Centre was opened with funding from the Wellcome Trust to run a 2 day HealthyR Notebooks course along with the provision of 15 laptops.
HealthyR Notebooks is a training course developed by Dr Riinu Ots and Professor Ewen Harrison from the Surgical Informatics group at Edinburgh University and is particularly relevant to use in resource-poor settings. The course teaches the R computer language specifically for healthcare data analysis and uses cloud-based software to generate a ‘data notebook’ which combines analysis and reporting in a single document to provide an intuitive interface between the researcher and their data. Open source software is used to remove cost-associated barriers such as the need for expensive software programmes running on high performance computers. The cloud based nature of the programmes also removes the need for patient-level data to be transferred from the country of collection to an academic institute in a high income country for analysis.
20 local researchers from Ghana were trained to use the HealthyR Notebook format for data analysis, and the laptops are all set up and ready to continue to use the Notebooks set up for local data driven research projects.