Personalised Medicine: Unleash the Power of Health Data

Director of Healthcare, Life Sciences, and Postal Industry Markets, SAP Asia Pacific Japan

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For healthcare organisations, digitisation opens a world of new opportunities to generate and deliver value. The era of unparalleled digital connection is offering everyone—patient, healthcare professional, and provider—greater access to health information, and driving monumental innovations in medical research and technology. One of the most important areas digital healthcare is unlocking is a personalised approach to healthcare, or personalised medicine.

How personalised medicine is changing the game

In most typical situations, without the ability to predict an individual’s treatment success for most conditions, clinicians are pushed to follow a non-optimal trial-and-error approach in prescribing treatment options. For example, a patient with consistent high blood pressure symptoms might be placed on one of several blood pressure drugs based on generic information. Drugs are developed and tested for the average patient with a particular disease.

But most of us aren’t average. So if the medication does not work after a while, the patient might be switched to another medication. This approach can lead to adverse drug responses and patient dissatisfaction, or worse, more serious health outcomes.

Personalised medicine unlocks the value of patient data to take into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles. This allows researchers and healthcare providers to take the guesswork out of R&D and healthcare decisions, and improve patient care and patient experiences. It also enables healthcare professionals to compare a combination of drugs for specific genomic profiles, increase research quality, safety, and efficiency as well as reduce costs and eliminate waste.

Personalised medicine unlocks the value of patient data to take into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.

Challenges to overcome

However, to deliver on the promise of personalised medicine, there are challenges to overcome. Researchers need to aggregate and analyse large volumes of fragmented patient information—structured and unstructured—such as clinical, genomic, medical, and social data. This may be trapped in silos and systems. Researchers and healthcare providers also need to be able to validate the source and quality of data – an aspect arguably more critical in healthcare than in many other industries. Furthermore, the idea of boundaries which restricts the access of valuable research and healthcare data needs to change.

The real value in healthcare can be unlocked only if all stakeholders not only rethink the business from their own perspective, but start to create a value network. CancerLinQ is one such groundbreaking initiative. A health information technology platform developed using a digital foundation for health featuring an in-memory computing platform, CancerLinQ assembles vast amounts of usable, searchable, real-world cancer information into a powerful database to help doctors improve and personalise care for people with cancer. Its advanced capabilities, such as complex predictive analytics, spatial processing, machine learning, lets CancerLinQ translate the data collected into reports, services, and tools rapidly to support healthcare providers’ quality assessment and improvement, care coordination, case management, and other health care operations activities. With an innovation like CancerLinQ, one cancer experience can help thousands of others.

Beyond health outcomes: Organisational sustainability

While personalised medicine offer tremendous health outcomes, it also brings with it a massive opportunity for life sciences companies and healthcare organisations stay viable and sustainable.

Pharmaceutical companies can abandon one-size-fits-all, blockbuster drug development in favour of developing medications for smaller patient populations and developing other lines of business. In the same vein, healthcare providers—which have been grappling with expenses that grow faster than revenues—can make use of this opportunity to figure out how to deliver excellent personalised patient outcomes with lower the cost of care.

The vision for personalised medicine

The vision for personalised medicine is one of an integrated, digital healthcare network that can enhance the ability of any healthcare organisation to provide better patient outcomes at lower cost—enabling providers to capitalise on new opportunities and remain relevant in the changing environment. It is one where researchers can aggregate and analyse massive volumes of data blocked by complex structural, organisational, and legislative boundaries. And, where life-sciences companies, researchers, and healthcare providers can own their valuable data, retain control of the system, and gain full transparency into their information.

The benefits of personalised medicine are well-recognised and supported by the public. How is your organisation transforming to make personalised medicine a reality?

Discover how your organisation can personalise healthcare and be future-ready.

This blog post originally appeared in the Digitalist.

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