Stephane Barberet of EMC discusses why healthcare organisations need to be prepared for when new threats break out and how this can’t be achieved this without agile software
In this article, Stephane Barberet, EMEA vice president at EMC, discusses how a more-integrated approach to managing patient information between pharmaceutical and healthcare providers could better predict the outcomes and evolution of diseases and outbreaks and ensure that the right types of vaccines and preventative care advice can be pre-targeted before outbreaks occur
We need to be prepared for when new threats break out so we have the vaccines and resources in place. However, we won’t be able to achieve this without software that can enable for this type of agility
Today’s software is only as intelligent as the information it processes. But traditional software’s rigid structure does not allow for processes to evolve, change or adapt based on individual circumstances. And this is especially true for industries such as life sciences, where diseases can form and adapt over time. Drugs are currently being made to tackle diseases that exist today, but how can we prepare for new diseases that could exist in the future?
There are many factors that are impacting the way diseases are spreading and evolving, including a huge increase in more rapid and frequent population movement, as well as global travel and trade; increasing opposition to vaccines in Western Europe; climate warming and water shortages leading to increases in genetically-modified food and pesticide use; and more resilience to over-used medicines such as antibiotics. Researchers who monitored the rise of infectious diseases from 1980 to 2010 found that outbreaks have become more common in recent decades due to these factors.
Medical data is expected to double every 73 days by 2020, but currently 80% of health data is invisible to current systems because it’s unstructured. While big data can help to understand how these diseases might spread - just like with the Ebola virus - life science organisations must have access to data from a variety of different sources and archives in order to foresee future occurrences. A more-integrated approach to managing patient information between pharmaceutical and healthcare providers could better predict the outcomes and evolution of diseases and outbreaks, not to mention ensure that the right types of vaccines and preventative care advice can be pre targeted before outbreaks occur.
One way the life sciences industry can understand future scenarios is through Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is already disrupting the tech market, with Google recently announcing RankBrain, an artificial intelligence system that helps to monitor search results. There has been a lot of investment in this space already, but AI needs to be put to better use in industries such as healthcare and pharmaceutical.
We are only seeing the very beginnings of the impact AI can have. It is already being used for computer-aided diagnosis and interpretation of medical images and for heart sound analysis. Going one step further, artificial neural networks are being used to estimate functions that are dependent on a large number of inputs – for example diagnosing different types of cancers. Algorithms are being used to help radiologists pick out tumours much more accurately by ‘learning’ about all the cancer research ever carried out and by ‘seeing’ millions of sample X-rays and MRIs.
A new wave of dynamic software can drive changes in the industry – shifting focus from creating products and services for today only, to those that need to be available for patients tomorrow
As a whole, we need to be prepared for when new threats break out so we have the vaccines and resources in place. However, we won’t be able to achieve this without software that can enable this type of agility. For companies that create medicines, they are going to have to start evolving their thinking and predicting the type of drugs that need to be created for the future.
A new wave of dynamic software can drive changes in the industry – shifting focus from creating products and services for today only, to those that need to be available for patients tomorrow. Organisations can do this by expanding the kind of information they have on current patients and adding them to clinical trial processes, enabling communication of the benefits to patients, openly. This can help to impact any impending predictions being made. It will enable life sciences organisations to deliver better and more-targeted patient care and be ready for when outbreaks occur. Doing this all in an integrated, secure and trusted environment continues to be important, but being able to dynamically adjust as events unfold will make the difference to future life sciences companies.