AI-backed platform to use cancer patient data


Tuesday, 15 November, 2022

AI-backed platform to use cancer patient data

Cancer research, education and treatment centre Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac) will trial an end-to-end digital platform to securely capture and store its comprehensive pool of de-identified patient data. The trial aims to support innovative research and development and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

The project, coordinated by the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC), pairs Peter Mac with global AI healthcare specialist Max Kelsen to test their AI-based data information platform.

The highly secure data platform will enable a patient outcome focused aggregation of previously disparate and siloed datasets, spanning each patient’s diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment journey.

Swinburne University of Technology is the research partner for the three-year project.

Associate Professor Kate Burbury, Director of Digital and Healthcare Innovations at Peter Mac, said the unique collaboration across academia, healthcare and commercial organisations represents a potentially transformative digital healthcare project.

“The goal of this exciting project is to integrate Peter Mac’s digital data and better understand the benefits that can come from unlocking large health datasets to support collaborative digital health research,” Burbury said.

“We also hope it will assist with establishing a pipeline for the development of regulated, scalable and transferable software as a medical device (SaMD).

“We see significant opportunity for this project to improve clinician decision-making, patient outcomes and drive long-term digital health product development and commercialisation,” she said.

Incorporating datasets from previously disparate technical systems, the project will enable Peter Mac to build digital capability for the health and research services, integrate digital innovations and develop a digital ecosystem to deliver high-quality, patient-centred care.

The project aims to accelerate research and discovery through collaboration and digital capability; advance purpose-built health technology, including commercial applications; and guide strategic investment to support health services into the future.

Max Kelsen CEO Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry said the concept of ‘data-driven medicine’ has the potential to improve and accelerate patient-focused decision-making, but before the application of AI, the task has been difficult because of the sheer size and complexity of siloed, clinical datasets and a reluctance of organisations to share them.

“Despite the best intentions of many stakeholders in health care and regulation, developing patient-based innovation around data has been costly, time-consuming and challenging from a regulatory perspective.

“With ethically applied AI and technological innovation in medicine, we can make significant improvements to how health care is delivered in Australia and beyond, while ensuring innovation is regulatory approved,” Therkelsen-Terry said.

Dr Stefan Harrer, Digital Health CRC Chief Innovation Officer, said uniting these partners represented a long-term opportunity that has the potential to transform how digital health data is stored and shared.

“This will set a precedent for empowering clinical institutions to tap into the abundance of health data they hold in highly efficient ways and to deliver real value to patients in trusted and personalised ways.

“Given the unstructured and fragmented nature of health data and its exponentially growing size, AI is poised to play a key role for analysing it.”

Image credit: iStock.com/metamorworks

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