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Estibaliz Urarte
Communications Manager

Health emigration in rare diseases: what do we know?

Zebra migrating in Botswana
A recent study sheds some light on this poorly known issue using artificial intelligence tools.

In some countries, treatments for rare diseases are not available for the general population, so families often choose to emigrate to have access to adequate therapies. Unfortunately, there is very little information available about this matter. In this context, a group of Polish researchers recently published an article entitled Literature Review on Health Emigration in Rare Diseases—A Machine Learning Perspective”, which explores the topic of health emigration in rare diseases from a machine learning (ML) perspective. The study discusses the challenges and opportunities of using these innovative techniques to analyse the available literature on this phenomenon. First, the authors point out that “technological advances are making machine learning tools an attractive alternative to classical methods, and the technical barriers to using ML are decreasing thanks to available open-source software". Nevertheless, the article also notes that there are still associated challenges: problems with data quality, data privacy, and bias in the data. Additionally, there may be challenges associated with selecting appropriate machine learning algorithms and interpreting the results of these analyses.

The article also mentions the opportunities machine learning offers in this unmapped field. ML techniques applied to review the literature on health emigration in rare diseases can help identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent through traditional methods. Machine learning can also help researchers identify gaps in the existing literature and prioritise areas for future research. Additionally, artificial intelligence can be used to develop predictive models, which can help healthcare providers and policymakers make more informed decisions about how to address health emigration in rare diseases.

The authors elucidate that discussions on this type of emigration typically centre around health inequalities, gaps in access to treatment, problems with orphan drug reimbursement, and the need for policy change.

The general conclusion is that additional research is needed on this topic, as the more we know about it, the better we will find policy solutions to address it.


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