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In a recent Oxford Economics study, “Healthcare Gets Personal,” 120 healthcare professionals were asked to respond to questions regarding their organizations’ use of personalized medicine.

Of those surveyed, over two-thirds reported improved patient outcomes from personalized-medicine initiatives and three-quarters of respondents expect to see value on their organizations in the next two years.

Technology is the Driving Force

By leveraging high speed in memory analytics technology, healthcare organizations can now comprehend astronomical amounts of data.

And by tapping into all this data, like patient EMR information, healthcare professionals can categorize patients into micro-buckets based on ethnic, environmental, lifestyle, and DNA similarities. From there, they can make educated predictions on how different patients will react to different treatments.

With faster access to more effective treatments, physicians have time to serve more patients without sacrificing quality of care.

Changes in Organizational Structures and Regulations

In addition to the right technology, personalized medicine will only thrive under a transformed economic framework, updated regulatory structures, and by remedying issues like privacy concerns.

Of the organizations surveyed, 64% say that they’ve already changed their privacy policies to reflect the increasingly personal nature of healthcare research and treatment. In addition, 60% noted that they’ve already increased patient data security.

However, in order for personalized medicine to truly work, patients must be willing to share their medical data. As the Oxford Economics study states, “The huge amounts of data required to make personalized medicine a reality are more than any single institution can generate.”

Dr. Eduardo M. Sotomayor, MD, director of the George Washington University Cancer Center in Washington, DC said it best, “We need to share data; otherwise we are going to take decades to conquer cancer. I strongly believe that you need to share Big Data in order to make significant advances in the biology and the treatment of cancer patients.”

The more information we can extract information from EMRs, clinical trials, and medical research with analytical software, the better we can target treatments to offer the best results for patients.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Proves the Effectiveness of Data Sharing

Through its pioneering initiative, CancerLinQ™, ASCO has created a real-world, rapid learning healthcare system that aims to help oncology professionals analyze and share data on every patient with cancer.

“The number of participating practices and providers continues to grow all across the United States, already contributing to over one million patient records in the CancerLinQ™ system,” said Jennifer L. Wong, Chief of Strategic Alliances for CancerLinQ LLC.

CancerLinQ™ leverages SAP HANA to harness, assemble, and analyze all of the information flowing into the system.

“The more data we have on patients, the better chance we have of providing faster, more relevant, and actionable information to drive informed decision-making, potentially enabling more targeted treatments for more people. Currently, only 3% of cancer patients are enrolled in clinical trials. With CancerLinQ™, we can someday tap into information on the additional 97% of cancer patients in the real-world setting, significantly impacting treatment decisions to improve care,” said Wong.

Information technology will play a critical role in the success of personalized medicine

“What is extremely important is to have unified data collection. That’s a major obstacle,” says Dr. Sotomayor. “Right now we have silos. Each silo has its own data and each silo is using different software.”

The technology to analyze billions and billions of data sets does exist. It’s now a matter of breaking conflicting interests and coming together to work for the good of society, aiming to cure diseases like cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, cardiovascular, aging, autoimmune diseases, rare or orphan cancers, and other orphan diseases.

Join our WebEx on October 27 with Jennifer Wong, Chief of Strategic Alliances for CancerLinq, and Enakshi Singh, SAP Connected Health’s Senior Product Specialist, as we further explore the Oxford Economics Study findings.

For more stories, follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter @Cmdonato