Partners to build big data platform

Joins with EMC for clinical intelligence initiative to accelerate research
By Mike Miliard
10:35 AM

We often hear about streams of data. Sometimes, the flood can seem overwhelming: a data deluge. In its new analytics project with EMC Corporation, Partners HealthCare extends the watery metaphor, with the Partners Data Lake.

[See also: Partners and Health Catalyst join forces]

The aim of this new agile data and analytics platform is to foster better collaboration and get research developed across the Partners HealthCare system into the clinical setting more quickly, officials say.

Shawn Murphy, MD, Partners' corporate director of research IS and computing, says making the most of the health system's broad research and clinical development efforts – whether basic research or advanced cancer genomics studies – needs better collaboration through technology.

[See also: Partners follows patients home]

"The Partners Data Lake offers us the chance to lead the world in novel treatments and diagnostics," said Murphy, in a press statement. "Partners HealthCare is in a unique position to combine the use of technology and research to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare to benefit patients.

"Our ability to lead innovation will be greatly enhanced though our collaboration with EMC by having valuable data available for our researchers to perform analysis and develop applications more dynamically than ever before," he added.

Partners' advanced medical diagnostics capabilities – and the huge amounts of data generated through its many research activities – will now be brought together via the Data Lake to enable the larger medical community to explore and develop new insights into human disease to improve diagnostics, treatment and the lives of patients.

As personalized medicine comes to the fore, medical research has shifted toward a collaborative approach as IT advancements tear down physical boundaries, officials say. Now, physicians can collaborate with researchers to develop the best methods of care and personalized treatments regardless of their location.

The Partners Data Lake will be built with products from across the EMC and its affiliated businesses, including EMC Information Infrastructure, VMware, Pivotal and RSA.

The platform will support research and clinical innovation across the Partners system: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and their community hospitals.

"Our strength in information technology and data science will enable Partners' vision of bringing innovative solutions to healthcare providers and patients, " said David Dimond, chief technology officer of EMC's Global Healthcare business, in a statement.

"Technology is being transformed by the powerful trends of mobile, cloud computing, big data and social networking," he added. "The goal is to develop a new healthcare platform that will accelerate research utilizing the growing volumes of medical data."