To date, the healthcare industry has not been able to offer medicine that is precise and personal. Instead over the past half century, we have been restricted to the use of normative data to prove the validity or efficacy of diagnostics and treatments for injuries and diseases. This has been the backbone of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry in the 21st century.
However, through the application and integration of modern data technologies we are on the cusp of a new healthcare delivery method, one that can begin to personalize medicine and be a sustainable healthcare model by shifting a significant amount of today’s centralized care to a distributed model that can better reach patients throughout our urban, rural and remote communities. The combination of new digital sensors, internet connectivity, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics data systems and blockchain record keeping technologies provide the essential components of a modern day health platform.
These new health platforms will enable healthcare professionals to efficiently practice medicine in a data driven world. They will provide much needed access to digital biomarkers that leverage widely available, clinical-grade and cost-effective assessment technologies, wearable sensors, insightful analyses, remote patient monitoring systems and seamless data access management. We can make the practice of medicine more precise, reduce unwarranted variability in medical care, predict highly accurate outcomes, and reduce costs, all of which will benefit providers and patients.
We will be able to identify precise, objective and quantifiable outcome measures regarding the current status of an individual's health and performance. As a consequence, we can more accurately define a diagnosis and/or regimen that will most effectively treat an individual’s injury or disease condition. This is the strength of precision and personalized medicine.
How may this be accomplished?
The Canadian Healthcare BioAnalytics Consortium (CHBC)
The CHBC is comprised of over twenty partner organizations from across Canada including leading academic research institutions, non-profit organizations, and industrial companies which have extensive expertise and experience in healthcare innovation.
The unique and disruptive platform that is being developed by the CHBC will enable clinicians and healthcare providers, not only in Canada but throughout the world, to dramatically change the practice of medicine. It will enable vested stakeholders to capture vast amounts of both existing and new data from a wide variety of sources, store that data in multiple repositories, and subject it to analytical evaluation using novel algorithms derived from advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. The result will be significant advances in our understanding of a variety of chronic diseases, new targets for therapies and new methods for monitoring drug efficacy against these conditions. All of this will be done via a system employing the most sophisticated methods of securitization and privacy using novel blockchain technologies developed over the past 5 years.
Lastly, the novel platform being innovated will remove the barriers to access and interoperability that exist today, simplifying and easing access routes for doctors, researchers and, most importantly, individuals who want access and control of their own data reflecting their past, current and potential future health status. Envision a ‘health passport’, but one that provides much more detail of a patient’s health past, present and future. Access to which the patient alone controls, one that contains all aspects of their medical history, reflects their personal health journey, accurately assesses present day status and can predict risks.
The ability to easily share and compare data from medical assessments, remote patient monitoring and personal health tracking in addition to the improvements in diagnostic accuracy due to the uptake of precision medicine practices will eliminate unwarranted variations in healthcare delivery, enhance the opportunity to discover improved diagnostic and medical treatments, and consequently result in significant cost reductions in healthcare for all Canadians. The Canadian economy will also benefit. The Precision Medicine Platform is expected to generate over $1B in economic activity and create over 4100 jobs across the country in 10 years.
Summary of the Precision Medicine Platform
The CHBC partners are developing a transformative, end-to-end precision medicine data platform that will be initially focused on tackling four high-burden conditions. These conditions include concussion, frailty, neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, and musculoskeletal injury/rehabilitation. Companies, physicians, academic institutions and healthcare clinics using the platform will be better positioned to discover, validate and deliver digital biomarker-based services that provide precise, objective and quantifiable outcome measures that best characterize clinically relevant chronic healthcare conditions. These next generation clinic and home based products are highly scalable, easy to use, automated, cost effective and portable. They will aid in eliminating unwarranted variation in medical care across the breadth of the health, wellness and performance spectrum but be especially applicable for use with vulnerable populations (eg. youth and elderly), athletic health/performance as well as rural and remote communities.
The collaborative solution offered by the CHBC is achieved by leveraging the power of (1) proprietary clinical grade medical technologies that employ precision movement and sensor fusion, (2) artificial intelligence employing an established bioinformatics platform, and (3) a blockchain based health ledger for patient consent management and high level security. This combination of technologies allows us to overcome obstacles in the acquisition of the quality and quantity of data required to produce precise solutions and ultimately deliver them to the market. On the one hand, our current highly-centralized healthcare system, with its inherent lack of interoperability, makes the sharing of data between patients, doctors and clinics highly restricted and too costly to maintain. On the other hand, lower cost solutions, like wearables, simply do not meet clinical grade standards. In addition, the interoperability problem makes it costly for companies with new assessment technologies to develop innovative health solutions, integrate them with health data management systems and, when necessary, be compliant with health regulations.
The CHBC strategic partnership overcomes these obstacles by integrating:
- Acquisition Technologies: The partners novel sensor systems comprehensively assess movement, biometrics, cognition, genomics, imaging and blood samples.
- Analytics: AI, advanced analytics and a bioinformatics data systems produce sensitive and insightful digital biomarkers for collaborative multi-site, disparate-data research and clinical healthcare delivery initiatives.
- Privacy & Security: A secure and private patient consent blockchain application that is utilized across industry, academic and public/private healthcare institutions.
- Access & Assessment: Ease of access for input from doctor, patient and clinical portals.
We have the opportunity to solve fundamental problems facing Canadian healthcare by implementing solutions that use digital technology to deliver better patient outcomes, increase efficiencies and enable broader access to healthcare for everyone. This emphasizes the importance of working together, to become more patient-centric to maximize outcomes, to develop differentiating ideas to sustain a competitive advantage and address the needs of payers to reduce costs. The key to success is to deliver cost effective, scientific solutions to meet shifting customer needs and enhance value, differentiation and competitiveness in the marketplace.
Our action plan integrates multiple digital offerings and builds up stronger capabilities in advanced analytics and data insights. We have a solution at our fingertips that will usher in a new wave of digital therapeutics with the potential to significantly alter the course of chronic disease management, and the overall health and wellness of Canadians.
CHBC structure and membership
- Lead applicants: IBM Canada, Ontario Brain Institute, XCO Tech Inc
- Partner applicants: Athletigen, Brightsquid, iClinic Inc, Kinduct Technologies Inc, Myant Inc, Performance Phenomics, Roseto Health
- Research partners: University of British Columbia Vancouver and Okanagan, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Western University, University of Toronto, Queen’s University, University of Waterloo, Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick.
- Network partners: Canadian Musculoskeletal Rehab Research Network, Concussion Network (CONNECT), Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI), Le Réseau Provincial de Recherche en Adaptation-Réadaptation (REPAR), Réseau Québécois de Recherche sur le Vieillissement (RQRV) including University of Montreal, McGill University and Laval University.
Read more about the SIF – Stream 4.