Heart association builds cloud platform for precision medicine initiative

The ongoing transformation of medical data collection and the availability of cheap memory, processing power and coding talent make the evolution of precision medicine inevitable.

Jeff Rowe | Jan 26, 2018 12:00 am

Big data analytics has positioned medicine on the brink of a revolution in individualized treatment, and much of it is happening in the cloud.

An example of this rapid change comes in a recent interview with Laura Stevens, data scientist with the American Heart Association, who described to SiliconAngle the AHA’s collaboration with AWS to build a Precision Medicine Platform.

A specialized domain that combines data on a patient’s genes, environment and lifestyle for a clear picture of his or her health, the platform has enabled doctors and researchers to collaborate on data analytics initiatives much more briskly and effectively than before, said Stevens.

“That then results in prevention and treatment that’s catered to you as an individual rather than a one-size-fits-all approach,” Stevens said.

With the global precision medicine market expected to reach $88.64 billion by 2022, AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine created the Precision Medicine Platform, a data marketplace that houses and provides analytic tools that enable high-performance computing and sharing of personal data, clinical trial data, pharmaceutical data, hospital data, to advance individualized research and treatment. 

It’s no secret that data security remains a major concern among health IT managers considering the cloud, but Stevens emphasized that the security built into the AWS cloud passes all crucial compliance tests.

“Even if you have data that you’d like to use, it’s sort of a walled garden behind your data so that it’s not accessible to people that don’t have access to the data, and it’s also HIPPA compliant. It meets the utmost secure standards of  healthcare today,” she said.

In a similar effort, the National Institutes of Health is building a database of genetic information to aid researchers in treating and preventing cancer and other diseases, with a goal of collecting data from 1 million Americans. Genetic information sets from larger demographics result in data applicable to larger, more diverse populations. 

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