The recent release by an Amazon subsidiary not only provides hospitals with a potential new resource for managing and leveraging precision medicine data, but also indicates the company’s belief that precision medicine is promising and growing
While precision medicine offers many potential benefits for providing individualized patient treatments, data constraints can make it difficult for hospitals to integrate this new approach into practice. Now, one of the country’s largest companies has just announced a product designed to help healthcare systems put their reams of data to work.
Precision medicine is a new, modern approach to healthcare that bases treatment on a patient’s individual biological traits. While the traditional approach to patient care utilizes treatments that are designed for the general population, precision medicine uses a patient’s genetic features to prescribe treatments that are specifically tailored for them.
Beyond identifying specific genes involved with the development of certain types of cancers and using pharmacogenomics to improve medication outcomes, healthcare providers are now learning from patient-specific profiles of proteins, the unique bacterial florae in a patients’ intestines, a range of new biomarkers (the discovery of which has increased year over year), and other patient-specific traits.
Precision Medicine Initiatives Require Ability to Harness Biomedical Data
A potential barrier that hospitals and healthcare organizations have begun to encounter when considering implementing precision medicine programs is the large amount of data that must be stored and interpreted for each patient. While precision medicine has been limited in scope to conditions that have been researched, this rapidly growing field has provided clinicians with new potential applications on a weekly basis.
The growing number of potential genetic targets for precision medicine coupled with the increasing availability of rapid, whole-genome sequencing is leading to a future where large amounts of data will need to be stored for each patient. Healthcare organizations will also need a way to analyze a large, unique data set for each patient in order to fully leverage the benefits that precision medicine can offer.
Amazon Bets Big to Help Hospitals Deal With Data Obstacles
In mid-July 2021, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon, announced a solution for the problem of unstructured healthcare data that’s driven by precision medicine. The new service, called Amazon HealthLake, helps healthcare businesses to “ingest, store, query, and analyze their health data at scale,” according to a recent Amazon press release. This new cloud-based software is HIPAA compliant and is designed to not only store healthcare data that can be used to provide precision medicine, but to also help interpret this data.
According to Amazon’s announcement, Amazon HealthLake “provides proven and easily accessible capabilities that help organizations increase the pace of innovation, unlock the potential of health data, and develop more personalized approaches to therapeutic development and care.”
Said Swami Sivasubramanian, PhD, Vice President of Amazon Machine Learning for AWS, “More and more of our customers in the healthcare and life sciences space are looking to organize and make sense of their reams of data, but are finding this process challenging and cumbersome. We built Amazon HealthLake to remove this heavy lifting for healthcare organizations so they can transform health data in the cloud in minutes and begin analyzing that information securely at scale.”
Sivasubramanian also emphasized that this new resource would enable healthcare organizations to provide “data-driven, personalized, and predictive care.”
Amazon’s increased focus in the healthcare data space clearly centers around growth in precision medicine. This recent release by Amazon’s subsidiary not only provides hospitals with a potential new resource for managing and leveraging precision medicine data, but also indicates that the company believes that precision medicine is a promising, growing field.