Precision medicine, or healthcare customized to each individual patient, is almost upon us. Leading the way are innovative partnerships such as that developed between Microsoft and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Clinicians and researchers are accessing genomic processing services through Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service. It’s vital to use cloud computing because a single genome takes up 200 gigabytes of space. As Healthcare IT News reports, “For scientists to make breakthroughs that could help lead to cures for pediatric cancers, researchers around the world need to be able to share and collaborate on genomic data. St. Jude is uploading anonymized genomes of their patients’ healthy and cancerous cells to public data repositories.”
Along with cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) will help connect devices and records systems as well as trace population health and provide analytics.
Recently, Microsoft announced the winners of its 2018 Health Innovation Awards. This year there was a tie. One of the awards went to Kaiser Permanente and KenSci for their AI/machine learning dashboard that improves congestive heart failure management. The other went to Ochsner Health System, who is partnering with Epic to integrate AI into real-time workflows. Their new technology “sends early warning alerts by tracking and analyzing patient symptoms to predict when patients might be deteriorating. The goal is to eliminate adverse events before they happen.”
With easier access to genomics information and more precise and customized tracking and monitoring of both populations and patients, cloud computing and AI are at the forefront of revolutionizing medicine. The more doctors and clinicians can customize medicine to the precise genetics and conditions of patients, the better health care they will be able to provide each of their patients. True precision medicine may still be a concept of the future, but Microsoft is working hard to help bring that concept to fruition as quickly as possible.