TiEcon 2017 Recap: Building a digital health infrastructure is key to precision medicine

There are significant opportunities at the intersection of precision medicine and big data, but there are also major challenges for the healthcare community, which includes clinicians and patients. These challenges were the subject of TiEcon 2017, a technology and entrepreneurship conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

Thermo Fisher’s head of precision medicine, Corina Shtir, participated on a panel entitled “Imagining the Future of Personalized Medicine,” part of the event’s focus on digital health. Joining her on the panel were Katherine Chou, head of product, healthcare research at Google, and Kevin Knopf, chief medical officer for Cancer Commons and chief oncology officer for Vivio. 

Consensus on the panel was that significant changes in patient care will require new approaches to the collection, management and interpretation of patient data. Rapid precision medicine adoption depends on this.

“It’s our responsibility and opportunity to come up with a comprehensive profile for individuals that doesn’t just include genomics,” said Shtir. “We must take a broader approach – proteomics, metabolomics, phenotypic data – and have robust mechanisms to handle all of that data.”

Shtir added that the healthcare industry must develop standardized methods for data collection and analysis that are cost-effective and efficient. This will require collaborations that include government, academia, biopharma and other public and private stakeholders, she said, “so that everything we produce can be combined and connected in a way that allows full interpretation and access to data.”

Thermo Fisher has embraced its leadership role in precision medicine and is now engaged in meaningful collaborations across all regions. This includes active roles in the Basel (Switzerland) Center of Excellence Program, the Cancer Moonshot and the NCI-MATCH trial.

A robust digital health infrastructure is key to scaling precision medicine. And this will increasingly include stakeholders across healthcare as well as patients themselves. “The opportunity is there for digital health to support critical decision-making by providing complete sets of interpreted data in a timely fashion,” said Shtir. “We must be sure investments and research activities are coordinated, productive and captured in the digital records in a timely fashion.”

This importance of collaboration in precision medicine cannot be understated. The panelist at TiEcon 2017 agreed that the effort will require all hands on-deck – from the public and private sectors – for years to come.

To see TiEcon 2017’s Digital Health track presentations, please click here.