Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Philips collaborates to brings big data services to healthcare

Steve Rogerson
June 14, 2016
Dutch companies Philips and Surfsara have teamed up to provide hospitals with big data research services in the cloud for precision medicine and population health management. The collaboration combines Philips' expertise in health informatics and Surfsara's capabilities in high performance supercomputing infrastructures.
Surfsara – a subsidiary of the Surf cooperation – is a supercomputing and data infrastructure provider for education and academic research. It aims to connect the Philips HealthSuite cloud platform to the Surfsara National Research Infrastructure to provide cloud-based research services.
The services will specifically support research into precision medicine and population health. An example are new targeted therapies for colon, prostate or breast cancer that require bringing together massive amounts of data from medical scanners, tissue biopsies, lab results and genomics over long periods of time to generate deep and comprehensive views on a patient's individual situation.
Studies into population health need to combine extremely large health data sets of large groups of people. These are analysed to find even the smallest correlations and patterns that could eventually lead to new approaches to enable early intervention and improve treatments.
"Today, hospitals can already retrieve massive amounts of data from multiple sources and various disciplines and through research obtain new clinical insights," said Jeroen Tas, CEO for connected care and health informatics at Philips. "But even greater value lies in combining, normalising and analysing the current islands of data. Our integrated services aim to combine data on all levels and connect health systems, clinical expertise and research programmes in a secure and compliant manner.”
He said through networked healthcare research, the two companies hoped to facilitate collaboration on the next generation of breakthroughs in care delivery.
Via a user-friendly portal for online collaboration, data scientists and clinical researchers will have secure high-speed access to big data, supercomputing facilities, combined Philips and Surfsara analytics tools, machine learning technology and IT services. This aims to enable scientists and researchers seamlessly to move, share, combine and re-use extremely large sets of data available across academic medical institutions and research programmes and analyse them in a compliant manner.
"Surfsara supports the national life science research with ICT experience and has a mission to connect business to research," said Anwar Osseyran, Surfsara CEO and professor of business analytics and computer science at the University of Amsterdam. "We will collaborate with Philips to enhance the cloud-base services of Philips and use these resources to make life science data available for science in the Netherlands and beyond."
The translational research environment envisaged initially aims to facilitate academic medical institutions and research programmes, and will later expand to support healthcare centres of excellence and life sciences scholars to analyse the vast amounts of data generated by disciplines such as genomics, digital pathology and imaging.
The big data research services will be open to collaborative research initiatives throughout Europe and beyond, reflecting the global nature of modern-day connected healthcare research in a compliant manner.  The volume of stored clinical data is growing at around 40 per cent per year due to advancements in diagnostic medical imaging and patient monitoring, chronic disease management as well as the growing adoption of medical-grade IoT devices (unobtrusive sensors) that enable enhanced patient self-measurement and open a dimension in high quality data collection.
An even greater data explosion is predicted as access to and analysis of digital pathology and genomics data becomes more widely adopted.