'The heart of Oracle's precision medicine offering is the normalisation of data'

Oracle, health IT

(HealthTech Wire / Interview) – As the adoption of precision medicine (PM) is gaining momentum, Dr Summerpal Kahlon, Director Care Innovation at Oracle Health Sciences and practicing specialist for infectious disease in adults, spoke to HealthTech Wire about its PM offering, Oracle’s Healthcare Foundation (OHF), and Oracle’s activities in the upcoming World of Health IT (WoHIT) Conference & Exhibition in Barcelona.

How do you define precision medicine?

A more narrow definition of PM describes it as tailoring a patient’s treatment on the basis of an individual’s genetic makeup. However, I lean more towards the US National Institutes of Health definition that is broader, taking also into account a person’s lifestyle and environment.

With which solution does Oracle support the advance of precision medicine? How does the solution work?

Oracle has supported PM for nearly a decade with its unified healthcare analytics solution, OHF. We have refined it over time to better assist its users in the research and the clinical domain, helping well-known institutions like MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and Erasmus Medical Center.

OHF’s core working principle is to promote translational research in its purest sense, enabling a workflow that enables unified information to accelerate insights from the bench to the bedside and back. The platform serves as a single data repository that combines clinical and research data from diverse sources. The input from the research environment, including genetic sample data, coexists alongside clinical, financial, administrative, and patient-reported survey data to augment data analysis in pairing genotypic and phenotypic data. The aggregated data then serves as the foundation for analysis and collaboration across all involved groups. In the clinical field, OHF helps to make processes more intelligent and automated and in the research field it enables to gain more insights, which, in turn, help to establish more consistent approaches on the care side.

The heart of our offering is the normalisation, aggregation and analysis of data in tandem with high system performance, scalability and a strong data governance model in place. The data quality is crucial; only if data is properly curated can we bring reliable and reproducible findings. Above all, OHF respects patient privacy and is HIPAA compliant.

For which diseases is the PM approach used?

The principles of PM are not new; they have formed the standard of care for specific diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, which is my background as a specialist for infectious diseases. The HIV care, for example, was revolutionised by genetic testing on the virus to figure out the best treatment. This allowed tailoring the treatment regimen to an individual patient.

The number of use cases for PM has broadened. Although PM is largely discussed in relation to oncology and, to a lesser degree, to paediatrics, there is a push to make the application of PM principles more ubiquitous. Its adoption has meanwhile filtered down to community hospitals. Also, the idea of PM is of a global nature and each country’s PM initiative takes a slightly different approach. With Oracle being a global business, we learn from our various customers and adapt our PM approach to each country, sharing our collected learnings will all customers.

What will Oracle showcase at the Genomics Summit at this year’s World of Health IT (WoHIT) event?

Oracle is the main sponsor of the upcoming WoHIT’s Genomics Summit, the first of its kind. We have invited one of our clients, University Hospital Zurich, to give the keynote, which will detail the hospital’s vision and strategy with regards to PM and genomic sequencing. Furthermore, Oracle will demonstrate PM use cases at its booth and I, along with other colleagues, will be available for onsite meetings.


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Oracle Health Sciences

Oracle is focused on making high quality healthcare synonymous with cost effective care and believes the sophisticated tools used to expand "Precision Medicine" should be leveraged to make "Population Health" a broad success with the support of modern, agile, business systems. Oracle, and its partners, have embraced this challenge and built the most powerful and flexible tools that enable healthcare providers and payers to embrace new care models, foster change, engage a modern workforce, and create optimized business processes.