Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 22 of 51 September/October 2018 Clinical OMICs 21 1994. At Partners HealthCare, patient-generated data is integrated with electronic medical records, and numerous mobile health and virtual care programs have been imple- mented for its 1.5 million patients. But with large patient populations continuously spitting out data, the sheer amount of data generated is daunting to physicians. Prog- ress will occur once doctors get over the misconception that any one clinician has to look at, for example, every blood pressure reading taken. "If we have software analyzing that data and presenting the physician with information rather than streams of data, that would be most helpful. We hav- en't gotten there, yet," Kvedar said. Evidation is one of the private companies working on ways to reach that goal. Luca Foschini, Evidation's co-founder and chief data scientist, said measuring in healthcare is usually relegated to sporadic points in time and, usually, when something is wrong. What is needed by just about everyone in the healthcare space—from physicians to drug makers—is continuous streams of data from everyday living. But, Foschini agreed with Kvedar that healthcare providers are not used to multi-channel streams that provide data nonstop. "That's the new beast here," he said, adding that engineers and even brokers on Wall Street know more about dealing with these kinds of data than doctors do. "What we are trying to develop are digital biomarkers and interpretation of biomarkers." That's because those continuous streams of data reveal biomarkers when the biomarkers are shown to be reli- ably predictive of health outcomes. Making the Most of Technology We Have As some researchers work to improve our use of data, oth- ers are taking advantage of available technology. The smart- phone—a device market research firm Statista estimates is used by 224.3 million people in the U.S.—is one example of a technology that has not been fully utilized for the improve- ment of health outcomes. Emmanuel Agu is a professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in west- ern Massachusetts and director of its Health Delivery Insti- tute. He and his team have developed a smartphone app that tracks the progress of wounds as they heal and allows remote assessment of the healing. "A lot of people who have non-healing wounds have to go to the hospital every few days to have the wound checked. Going for the appoint- ment takes half of the person's day and, in between visits, they wonder if it is getting any better," Agu said. According to U.S. Health and Human Services statis- tics, there are an estimated 5.7 million people with chronic wounds that cost $20 billion to treat annually. These wounds can take nine months to a year to heal, as opposed to the three or four weeks it might take a healthy person's wound to heal. Many of the patients with these wounds suffer from chronic diseases, like obesity and diabetes. Sometimes, lim- ited mobility means these patients can only get to the hospi- tal for wound care by ambulance, costing an estimated $200 million per year. If complications are missed, amputations might be indicated. (continued on next page) Natali_Mis / Getty Images

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