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AnalytiXagility: Creating a Platform to Power the Next Generation of Clinical and Translational Informatics
Founded in 2007, Aridhia, based in the United Kingdom, is a world leader in clinical and translational informatics. Its multidisciplinary team of data scientists, healthcare experts and software developers is focused on developing technology that uses biomedical analytics and informatics to support the collaboration, innovation and management of chronic diseases, biomedical research and stratified medicine.
Around the world, many countries are dealing with shrinking healthcare budgets and tough clinical research funding environments while at the same time there are more instances of chronic disease as populations age. Aridhia leaders know that enabling doctors and researchers to collaborate and incorporate advanced health analytics and informatics into the clinical workflow will ultimately improve care standards and ensure that healthcare resources are spent more effectively.
The company is addressing these challenges by offering the market a quick and easy way to collaborate and interrogate data within a subscription platform that leverages cloud, big data and mobile technologies to accelerate the analytic process. With a focus on chronic diseases, Aridhia is accelerating biomedical research and enabling personalized healthcare by delivering data and powerful analytic tools directly into the hands of data scientists, clinical researchers and healthcare practitioners.
Leveraging Cloud-Based Analytics to Accelerate Research and Enable Personalized Medicine
Over the last few years, Aridhia has worked on building and deploying AnalytiXagility – an advanced collaborative data science platform designed specifically for use in healthcare, personalized medicine, collaborative research, and educational environments. According to Chris Roche, Aridhia Chief Executive Officer, a vast amount of data is being generated from multiple channels, including patient, genomic, observed data, clinical records and even sensors.
The question confronting Aridhia experts is how researchers, clinicians, data scientists and life science industry professionals can work together to rapidly analyze health data and take advantage of informatics to speed research, transform biological data into clinical innovations, and enable personalized medicine. Ultimately, the goal is to create specific drugs or treatments to meet the unique needs of individual patients. Another key piece of the puzzle is how to create a secure platform for healthcare data to ensure data security and privacy because information governance is hugely important in the healthcare delivery and research industries.
Roche says, “Traditionally, it takes an average of 17 years for a piece of medical research to move from the research world into clinical practice. We are focused on finding ways to encourage collaboration to accelerate the operationalization of research into clinical practice and ultimately into commercial innovations that improve health outcomes.”
Taking an incremental approach to translate the dream of personalized medicine into reality, Aridhia leaders decided to create a biomedical informatics platform that would give the healthcare world easy access to the modern-day technologies that have already transformed other industries, while respecting and strengthening client’s compliance obligations under international law and standards. Aridhia’s IT experts had used Microsoft technology to build previous systems, but Roche and other executives realized that the Microsoft technology didn’t provide the necessary scalability for the new platform they were envisioning.
“We knew we wanted to build a platform that incorporated cloud and big data technologies,” says Roche. “But we could see that there were going to be major technology challenges. We wanted to work with a company that embraced new ideas and understood our data protection requirements, and Pivotal was a good match.”
Incorporating Hadoop, SQL and Memory Data to Create a Centralized Data Lake
While many in the industry talked about working with either SQL or Hadoop, Pivotal experts saw things differently.
“We have the challenge of working with mixed data types. What really attracted us to Pivotal was their approach to an integrated data fabric,” says Roche. “They were really clear that Hadoop, SQL and memory data need to all work together on one platform.”
Pivotal experts had the expertise and the optimal tools (Pivotal Greenplum, Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Pivotal HD) to develop a platform that accommodated a variety of data types. Aridhia leaders also appreciated Pivotal’s flexible approach to licensing, their focus on collaboration as a design principle and their scalability.
The first cooperative Aridhia/Pivotal project focused on building a technology platform for a joint venture that includes several universities, hospital trust boards and a gene sequencing company. This platform underpins the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre, a unique collaboration that aims to change the way healthcare will be practiced. The secure platform enables the collation, de-identification and analysis of the clinical, patient and genomic data required to understand individual patient’s response to treatment and it has been up and running for well over a year with excellent results.
According to Roche, Aridhia wanted to expand the technology to accommodate not just genomic-scale projects but research projects that don’t necessarily have huge data sets. The idea would be to provide a secure, cloud-based environment to enable data sets of all sizes from many different systems and sources and to be brought together. The system would provide coherence across all the data sets so insights could be achieved from analyzing many data types.
With Pivotal’s support, the decision was to rapidly build applications on top of a data lake rather than trying to create one all-encompassing data model. In April 2014, Aridhia launched its new collaborative data science platform called AnalytiXagility, a PaaS offering that is available via a monthly subscription, and which comes preloaded with all the necessary analytical tools and technologies to accelerate progress on health research and translate concepts into commercial innovations that impact patient care. Aridhia can now offer collaborative analytical workspaces built on Pivotal Analytic tools like preloaded R consoles, Hadoop and SQL. The system also provides very significant information governance protocols and auditing to ensure that data is secure and compliance standards are upheld from upload to analysis.
With the foundational data lake-based platform in place and the continued support of Pivotal services, Aridhia team members are focusing their expertise on building the applications, data APIs and data services on top of the platform that their clients need to achieve insights from health informatics and analytics.
Generate New Insights by Rapidly Building and Deploying Applications to Capture and Analyze Clinical Neuroimaging and Genomic Data
There is an unmet need within neurodegenerative diseases for clinical decision tools that enable prospective and personalized treatment decisions. The solution requires comprehensive monitoring of individual patients that links real-world clinical data to genomic medicine and quantitative neuroimaging. Today, Aridhia is working with medical researchers to take early stage brain scans, genomic data, and clinical data and build models. Recently, Aridhia experts used Pivotal Cloud Foundry technology to rapidly build and deploy a specialized application on AnalytiXagility to collect and capture extensive data from actual MS patients to gain unique insights.
Improve Healthcare Decision-Making and Patient Outcomes by Gathering and Processing Data in Minutes Instead of Hours
Aridhia is working with clinicians treating traumatic brain injury patients in an intensive care unit in one of Europe’s largest hospitals. The objective is to improve the down sampling of high-frequency patient data which will allow additional algorithms to be applied which will inform decision making and ultimately improve clinical practice. AnalytiXagility’s collaborative features have enabled Aridhia’s data scientists and the clinicians to work together to enhance an existing algorithm used to improve detection and prediction of specific clinical events, quickly processing patient data in a matter of minutes instead of hours. The latest phase of the project is focused on the development of an app which will enable Neuro-ICU clinical teams to swiftly analyze high-frequency patient data at the bedside to improve outcomes and reduce healthcare delivery costs.
Help Professionals Quickly Take Advantage of Data Analytics to Offer Fresh Solutions to Medical Challenges
Many healthcare system leaders want to encourage their staff members to embrace clinical and translational informatics to gain new insights and provide fresh approaches to healthcare challenges, so Aridhia experts have run data challenge days for a number of organizations, including the National Health Service (NHS) in North London and the University of Manchester. The NHS wanted to look at prescribing and admissions data, while the University of Manchester wanted to examine city data, but in each case, Aridhia’s AnalytiXagility data science platform provided the flexibility and scalability to easily accommodate all the different data sets. It was very easy to invite participants and quickly provision them on the platform by giving them access to their data in their own private workspaces. Ultimately, each organization was able to analyze their data sets to look for any unique patterns that weren’t apparent before.
Aridhia is just beginning to help its clients explore all the possibilities available with the AnalytiXagility collaborative data science platform. Leaders are pleased that they picked a technology that provides critical flexibility to scale up or provision down to accommodate data sets of all sizes from a few gigabytes up to many petabytes. They also appreciate that they can rapidly build applications to facilitate their objective to take research and quickly translate it into clinical practice.
From a licensing perspective, it is very helpful that Pivotal is very flexible and can accommodate requirements for data management solutions today and over time as those requirements change. Aridhia leaders also appreciate that they’ve been able to engage and work collaboratively with Pivotal’s executive team and local staff.
“We’ve had a really great time with Pivotal,” says Roche. “We love where they stand in the platform business, their licensing and their engagement model. We’re really happy with the results.”