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Precision Medicine Holds Lifesaving Promise

March 4, 2019

Recent developments in data collection and analysis are paving the way to a new era in healthcare. Today, patient data is generated at a level orders of magnitude higher than that of even a decade ago. Through advanced predictive analytics, this information has the potential to save lives through the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease at a highly personalized level. "Precision medicine," says James D'Arezzo, CEO, Condusiv Technologies, "holds enormous promise. Realizing that promise, however, is not going to be easy." D'Arezzo, whose company is the world leader in I/O reduction and SQL database performance, adds, "The development of these complex predictive models depends on the ability to organize, manage, and interpret unprecedentedly massive amounts of data."

Industry experts agree. A biomedical journal commenting on the recent Precision Medicine World Conference  observes, "The results from this type of research will likely offer countless opportunities for future clinical decision-making. In order to implement appropriately, however, the challenges associated with large datasets need to be resolved."2 A recent report from the California Precision Medicine Advisory Committee echoes this assessment, adding that precision medicine will require significant investments in data storage, infrastructure, and security systems in the coming years to achieve its full potential.3

The technical and organizational challenges these investments are intended to help overcome are magnified by the explosive growth rate of medical data analytics of all kinds. According to a recent report from International Data Corporation, the volume of data processed in the overall healthcare sector is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 36% through 2025, significantly faster than in other data-intensive industries such as manufacturing (30% projected CAGR), financial services (26%) and media and entertainment (25%).4 Meanwhile, according to BIS Research, the subcategory of precision medicine, a $43.6 billion global market in 2016, is expected to reach $141.7 billion by 2026.5

To handle this escalating volume of data, and to reap the enormous promise of impending medical developments, the healthcare sector's IT chiefs will need to stay focused on the basics of what they are being asked to do. While investments in storage and infrastructure will be helpful to a degree, big data, D'Arezzo notes, is primarily a matter of processing a certain volume of information at a certain speed. The ability to do that is fundamentally dependent on the overall system's I/O capacity-which can be affected only to a limited extent by additional hardware.

"In the Windows environment, especially," says D'Arezzo, "you will encounter performance degradation over time as I/O capacity declines. This is a software problem peculiar to Windows; beyond a certain point, adding hardware will not help it. There are targeted software solutions, however, that can improve system throughput by up to 50% without additional hardware. My company is the world leader in developing these solutions. They are available on a software-as-a-service basis, and should be part of the IT toolkit for any large-scale healthcare organization."

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