The Center for Data Innovation spoke to Oscar Flores, chief executive officer at Genomcore and Made of Genes, two Spanish health tech companies using artificial intelligence (AI) to offer better healthcare to patients and healthcare providers. Flores discussed how he enables more efficient healthcare, especially through personalized medicine.
This interview has been edited.
Christophe Carugati: How do data and AI enable more efficient healthcare?
Oscar Flores: As with every other sector, the health sector is undergoing a digital transformation process which causes healthcare to be more precise and personalized by integrating data-driven solutions into already established protocols. This paradigm shift opens the door to a new generation of therapies, assessments, and treatments based on molecular data, like genomics, or any other measurable variable, like consumer wearables. However, health professionals cannot analyze and process these data manually. Therefore, we require data scientists to extract the real value from the data in a cost and time-effective manner.
Carugati: How do you mobilize data and AI to help your clients?
Flores: Our company was born with the mission to enable personalized healthcare in the “real world.” Our vision is to empower users to control their health data to enable professionals and companies to deliver new personalized services to them. Therefore we created a double marketing strategy: On one hand, we have Genomcore that focuses on offering the technological foundations to manage large sets of personal health data that enable the digital transformation of established stakeholders in the diagnostics and healthcare sectors. And on the other hand, we have Made of Genes that features a “plug and play” service for holistic molecular health assessment by integrating DNA, blood tests, and real-world data to offer non-clinical wellbeing and lifestyle recommendations.
Carugati: What are the challenges of using health data?
Flores: I do not think health data management has any added difficulty compared to other regulated sectors, like banking or insurance. In the end, you have to manage sensitive personal data, but this is not an exclusive feature of the health sector. However, the main challenge we found is the low level of digitalization and interoperability in this sector. We lack effective standards to exchange clinical data. In addition, there is no systematic way to collect and structure information. Ontologies and references change country by country, and we can even find many different legacy information systems implemented across points of care inside a single region.
Carugati: How does personalized medicine enable better healthcare?
Flores: Personalized medicine is a way to talk about a new generation of medical services based on data-driven, molecular-based analysis. Medicine has always been “personalized,” but now it can be more precise. We can better stratify the patients and develop therapies suited to one specific profile that was just impossible before. So in that sense, it is not only a matter of personalization. It is a matter of “increased resolution” of the picture we can have about a patient, sometimes observing patterns that he or she does not even know, like his or her genetic risks or metabolic levels.
Carugati: How could better access to data help companies like yours deliver better healthcare?
Flores: We do not really need “more data.” We need to educate both patients and professionals about the potential of personalized medicine, test its cost-effectiveness, and reduce the friction of adopting new data-driven solutions. The amount of data generated by a health system is an indicator of its sophistication and a precursor of better health outcomes in the near future. So, we need more of a cultural change than a technological or regulatory one.