Since President Barack Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative in January, precision medicine has been much more widely discussed among the media, health professionals, and patients. And while precision medicine is not a new topic – there have been compelling advances for select cancers, for example – progress has been slower than expected. However, the vision remains compelling and the possibility for progress greater than it has ever been before. That is why I am so thrilled with the White House initiative.
Precision medicine ultimately has the potential to improve both quality and quantity of a patient’s life and also have a ripple effect on the economics of the entire healthcare system. With better, faster treatment and less wasted on ineffective therapies, costs will be better controlled. More effective therapies and better prevention and control of chronic illness will result in fewer and shorter hospital stays and a shift from expensive reactive care to prevention.
As a physician and technologist, one of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to be engaged in cutting edge innovation in the creation of value from big data in healthcare. Here are a few of my favorite examples of leaders in healthcare who are creating value from big data in a real-time fashion:
American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) is a non-profit, professional oncology society with over 35,000 members globally. ASCO is transforming care for cancer patients worldwide with CancerLinQ. This innovation will help unlock knowledge and value from the 97% of cancer patients not involved in clinical trials to help drive better, more data-driven decision making. Doctors will get new insights in seconds, not years, when they are deciding on treatment plans with patients. Twelve oncology practices around the U.S. have signed on as vanguard practices to provide patient records for the first version of CancerLinQ. Several more large cancer centers will soon join this effort, meaning approximately 500,000 patients will be represented in the first version of CancerLinQ. In addition, the data will be leveraged by data scientists at ASCO as part of its mission to improve the quality of cancer care across the country.
The National Center of Tumor Disease (NCT) is another of example where precision medicine is helping to provide better, more tailored treatment options. NCT is focusing on how decision-making can be improved based on decision personalization and leveraging all available data, no matter where it is located. This solution incorporates natural language processing to extract relevant tumor markers out of free text which are then leveraged to retrieve relevant data from cloud-based tumor registries.This all occurs in real-time. Additional capabilities include an explorable visualization of treatment across centers and a listing of matches with available clinical trials. Based on this collaboration with NCT, SAP developed Medical Research Insights.
With the support of the White House, we are closer to bringing precision medicine to all patients across an ever-broadening disease set. There will continue to be hurdles, including ongoing need for investment, improved interoperability and privacy issues. But the promise of healthcare delivery that is more effective, safer and less expensive is compelling. We simply can’t afford not to.
This story also appeared in the SAP Business Trends community.
For more thought leadership on transformative technology, see Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.Comments