What if the process of scientific research was operating with all the data at its disposal, the best tools, the simplest interfaces, and all the computational power necessary?
In a medical field that is bursting with research and data, effective and timely solutions to health issues can be elusive and slow to emerge. At best, precious months go by as researchers set up infrastructure and search for data and collaborators to confirm their efforts. At worst, they spend more months, even years, duplicating the work of other researchers because research done in a silo may not be visible to other teams. Now, a new alliance of the American Heart Association’s Precision Medicine Platform and Hitachi Vantara has the potential to change the way research is performed. Researchers connect to the platform in cloud-based workspaces that allow them to access rich datasets easily, employ the latest analytical and computational tools, and do all of this with easy-to-use interfaces.
Established by the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, the Precision Medicine Platform was initially conceived for cardiology and stroke research. Using technology from Hitachi Vantara and Amazon Web Services, the Precision Medicine Platform allows researchers and clinicians to access, search, analyze, and share securely managed cloud-based data that is curated and harmonized from hundreds of hospitals and medical institutions. By making data and analytic tools available to research teams everywhere, the Precision Medicine Platform democratizes data, to move data science and healthcare forward and accelerate solutions that can positively impact millions of lives.
Workspace as a Service
The Precision Medicine Platform allows researchers to focus on innovation and research, not on mechanics and logistics. Rather than spending time setting up systems, collecting and sorting through different types of data from different places, and finding platforms that support collaboration, researchers can opt for a turnkey workspace on the Precision Medicine Platform. When researchers set up a workspace, they can get results from data in unheard-of time frames: What used to take weeks and months now takes minutes.
The process, Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS), is designed to remove barriers to the actual research and analytical work, in order to accelerate research and collaboration. Small research firms get a boost in their efforts because they can gain access and tools to evaluate data that only larger, better funded organizations could reach in the past. In essence, any researcher, from a post-doc in a university lab to a scientist in a biotech startup, can create a login ID, browse datasets, add their own data, request access, and set up an analytic environment to leverage AI and machine learning algorithms. They also can invite collaborators to login to their research scenario. The workspace, like software as a service, is billed for usage.
Supercomputing on a Laptop
The Precision Medicine Platform sits at the intersection of science, medicine, and technology. It allows researchers to use their laptops to log into a system that enables access to continuously expanding data and supercomputing capabilities.
Entrance to the system is gained through a simple registration process on a straightforward user interface.
The platform allows teams to provision their workspaces and begin looking at open datasets immediately. Sample filters, such as age, gender, and education are easily selected on the user interface.
For example, a researcher could access data and enable an algorithm that evaluates elevated protein levels in blood, employing filters and seeking correlations with stroke probability. Or researchers could use the Precision Medicine Platform’s ready-to-use machine learning algorithms in a secure workspace to expose previously hidden risk factors.
For sensitive datasets that are locked on the Precision Medicine Platform, researchers can submit a request for access. Governance is in place to evaluate requests within 24-36 hours.
When it is time to deliver results of the research, Precision Medicine Platform further assists researchers with tools to create supporting materials, such as graphs and charts for publication.
Precision Medicine Platform in Action: COVID-19 Challenge
As was made abundantly clear during the pandemic, the biotech and pharma communities need the central hub that the Precision Medicine Platform provides for collaboration and high-performance computing and analytics.
The Precision Medicine Platform was put to the test in the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 data challenge, which asked researchers to determine relationships between COVID-19 and other risk factors, health conditions, health disparities, and social determinants of health. The Precision Medicine Platform allowed researchers to collaborate and employ state-of-the-art computing and analytics, resulting in valuable and actionable insights into the virus and its disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.
From Months to Minutes: The Power of the Platform Is Efficiency
The intent behind the Precision Medicine Platform is to take care of the background infrastructure and logistics, allowing researchers to focus on the important work of clinical discovery. It removes the burdens of finding and maintaining the tools and technology needed to locate datasets, as well as to collaborate, analyze, and enable accelerated solutions, allowing workspace setup in minutes. Government, academic, and medical researchers now can access relevant data, combine it with their own data and analysis, and employ the platform’s ready-to-use machine learning to uncover new predictive algorithms more efficiently than ever before.
For more information on how the Precision Medicine Platform’s alliance with Hitachi Vantara can benefit your research efforts, please contact Kerry Sims. Or click here to set up your new workspace right now.
Paul Watson is Vice President and Global Health & Life Sciences Practice Lead at Hitachi Vantara.