Our July HealthTech Sydney event focussed on the challenges of using Big Data to shape the future of Personalised Medicine. We had some excellent guest speakers provide their insight. A recap is below:

Dr George Margelis – Intel Healthcare

Dr George Margelis spoke about the big challenges of combining two very complex industries, to leverage off advances in genomics and computing, to deliver more personalized medical treatments. The drivers for modern health care changes are improving effectiveness and efficiency to improve quality are reduce costs in an era where medical technologies are expensive and the population is aging. Patients are highly informed and general practice is increasingly focussed on education and prevention of disease, as much disease is resulting from lifestyle choices (eating habits, drugs etc).

The big data revolution is resulting from the massive drop in cost of sequencing genomes in the last ten years, drop in cost of storing data and the increase of speed of processing of processing the data. This means that personalized genomic information can now be processed and analyzed to understand how disease is manifested at the molecular level. Treatment regimes can be chosen accordingly.

Managing data in healthcare is the biggest challenge as it requires a huge culture change. Collecting the data is easy, with modern technologies processing and storing data is easy, the challenge is managing the data effectively and distributing the data to healthcare specialists who can use it effectively. Personalized data can be collected by medical device companies, according to regulatory guidelines, and data can also be collected by the consumables through the growing number of wearable devices – both data sets are valuable for managing health and there is a challenge to marry the two data types. A collaborative approach is needed in order to develop data management systems – healthcare specialists and computer specialists need to work alongside ethicists and government.