Developing New Standards in Clinical Care through Precision Medicine

Today I gave a presentation to the NHS England Health and Care Innovation Expo alongside Dr. Jonathan Sheldon, Global VP Healthcare at Oracle where we discussed the role of precision medicine. I wanted to be able to share some of our thoughts from the session with a wider audience here in our Healthcare and Life Sciences community.

More specifically we talked through trends impacting healthcare and population health, what’s driving innovation to enable the convergence of precision medicine and population health and how we at Intel are working with Oracle on a shared vision.

Delivering Precision Medicine to Tackle Chronic Conditions

I’d like to underline all of what we discuss in precision medicine by reinforcing what I’ve said in a previous blog, that as somebody who spends a portion of my time each week working in a GP surgery, it’s essential that I am able to utilise some of the fantastic research outcomes to help deliver better healthcare to my patients. And for me, that means focusing in on the chronic conditions, such as diabetes, which are a drain on current healthcare resources.

The link between obesity and diabetes is well-known but it’s only when we see that 1/3rd of the global population are obese and every 30 seconds a leg is lost to diabetes somewhere in the world can we start to grasp the scale of the problem. The data we have available around diabetes in the UK highlights the scale succinctly:

  • 1 in 7 hospital beds are taken up by diabetics
  • 3.9m Britons have diabetes (majority Type 2, linked to obesity)
  • 2.5m thought to have diabetes but not yet diagnosed

To combat the rise of diabetes there is some £14bn spent by the NHS each year treating the condition, including £869m spend by family doctors. What role can precision medicine play in creating a new standard of clinical care to help meet the challenges presented by chronic conditions such as diabetes?

Changing Care to Reduce Costs and Improve Outcomes

I see three changing narratives around care, all driven by technology. First, ‘Care Networking’ will see a move from individuals working in silos to a team-based approach across both organisations and IT systems. Second, ‘Care Anywhere’ means a move to more mobile, home-based and community care away from the hospital setting. And third, ‘Care Customization’ brings a shift from population-based to person-based treatment. Combine those three elements and I believe we have a real chance at tackling those chronic conditions and consequently reducing healthcare costs and improving healthcare outcomes.

How do we achieve better care at lower costs though from a technology point of view? This is where Intel and Oracle,with industry and customers, are working together to make this possible by overcoming the challenges of storing and analysing scattered structured and unstructured data, moving irreproducible manual analysis processes to reproducible analysis and unlocking performance bottlenecks through scalable, secure enterprise-grade, mission-critical infrastructure.

Convergence of Precision Medicine and Population Health

Currently we have two separate themes of Precision Medicine and Population Health around healthcare delivery. On the one hand Population Health is concerned with operational issues, cutting costs and resource allocation around chronic diseases, while Precision Medicine still very much operates in silos and is research-oriented with isolated decision-making. Both Intel and Oracle are focused on bringing together Precision Medicine and Population Health to provide a more integrated view of all healthcare related data, simplify patient stratification across care settings and deliver faster and deeper visibility into operational financial drivers.

Shared Vision of All-in-One Day Genome Analysis by 2020

We have a shared vision to deliver All-in-One Day primary genome analysis for individuals by 2020 which can potentially help clinicians deliver a targeted treatment plan. Today, we’re not quite at the point where I can utilize the shared learning and applied knowledge of precision medicine to help me coordinate care and engage my patients, but I do know that our technology is helping to speed up the convergence between healthcare and life sciences to help reduce costs and deliver better care.

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