Cloud; Promising Trend in Precision Medicine

By Chris Larkin, General Manager, Software Engineering - GE Healthcare, Life Sciences

Chris Larkin, General Manager, Software Engineering - GE Healthcare, Life Sciences

Using the Cloud to Manufacture the Right Drugs More Efficiently

The cloud has the potential to offer incredible asset performance management benefits for the pharmaceutical industry.

Medicine makers are looking for ways to manufacture therapies more efficiently, and the answer could lie in the cloud and Big Data-more specifically, the ability to turn stores of data into actionable insights that help deliver drugs to market more quickly and with less resource constraints. Data and analytics can help pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers avoid failed drug lots, fail clinical trials faster, and pinpoint opportunities to make manufacturing processes more efficient.

Using the cloud to combine large scale analytics processing with secure computing, pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers could be able to create a “digital twin” for every asset-allowing them to monitor their operations and be proactive about preventing issues.

Just as GE analytics predict when an aircraft engine needs maintenance, I see a future where we can also use predictive analytics to detect when a bioreactor, chromatography column, or any other critical piece of equipment in a drug production line needs servicing. If there is an emerging problem with a piece of equipment either before, or even during, a pharmaceutical run, the issue could be called out and fixed before it causes material problems.

Secure cloud capability makes computing and storage unlimited for a pharmaceutical company. Oftentimes, the data captured is so abundant and overwhelming that the most difficult challenge is to turn all of that raw information into actionable insights.

GE’s role as a digital industrial company is to do just that; collect data and use it to find tangible opportunities to drive smarter operations across many different industrial processes. Pharmaceuticals and healthcare are part of that big digital industrial picture. This has dramatically shifted the way we view IT’s role in the healthcare environment. IT has gone from managing boxes and bandwidth, to driving excellence in analyzing data in a way that could impact the bottom line.

Technical successes are not as important as breakthroughs in delivering care, and GE Healthcare is positioned to lead that transformation with the realization of the cloud and its Big Data analytics.

"Data and insights will be most valuable when they use population-wide information to inform the care of an individual patient in the 10 minutes the clinician and patient are in an exam room together"

Harnessing Big Data to Meet Today’s Reality of Precision Medicine

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are facing major change as precision medicine drives smaller batches of drugs that treat smaller and more fragmented patient populations. In response to this shift in precision diagnoses and treatments, pharmaceutical companies are looking to harness Big Data to tell them where there is an unmet need for therapies, help them properly stratify patients for clinical trials, and provide information to clinicians to ensure those resulting drugs reach the right patients.

Big Data also offers the potential to bridge gaps between pharmaceutical manufacturers, life sciences companies and healthcare providers. The more these entities work together, the more data can inform both patient care and therapy development, ultimately benefitting each individual patient by getting them the most effective therapies faster.

For instance, during a clinical trial or standard workup, a clinician will be able to use the cloud to securely access dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other patients’ anonymized information – and compare that to his/her patient’s information. This unprecedented access to demographic information could not only help clinicians accurately diagnose or treat patients; more data collection will be able to inform pharmaceutical companies’ drug development programs as they look to develop even more precision therapies.

The Personal Side of Big Data: Individual Insights are Driven from Droves of Data

It’s clear that Big Data analytics is a hot topic in healthcare today, because it offers the possibility of informing drug development, diagnoses, and therapeutic treatments better than ever before. There’s also potential to take droves of data and whittle down the predictive analytics from a large-scale, population health level, to hyper-targeted and tailored, individual insights that clinicians can use in one-on-one,real-time conversations with their patients.

In the words of a physician friend of mine, “I don’t care about Big Data unless you can make it ‘Little Data’.” In other words, data and insights will be most valuable when they use population-wide information to inform the care of an individual patient in the 10 minutes the clinician and patient are in an exam room together. Physicians should be able to use this data to predict a patient’s need, or response to therapy- and get that patient treated faster and more effectively in just one visit.

The idea of the cloud and big data’s potential to deliver analyses at the point of care is one of the most promising trends in precision medicine, and we should expect to see these promises realized rapidly in the industry with the help of the cloud. Healthcare innovation is moving at the speed of light; big data shouldn’t be too far behind.