In the Midst of COVID-19, How Lynx.MD’s AI Solution Brings Data Forward
A Q&A with Omer Dror, CEO & Co-Founder of Lynx.MD
Why does health data play such a critical role in the battle against COVID-19?
Within 5 months, COVID-19 has infected more than 2.8 million people and continues to spread rapidly around the world. Significant mortality rates, and indications that asymptomatic persons are playing a major role in the transmission, drove a first-of-its-kind global collaborative effort to track, test, and find preventive measures, such as a vaccine or chemoprophylaxis. The global obsession with data has led numerous organizations to share accumulated statistics, such as the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) which assembles data from 17 sources, including the World Health Organization, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and several individual governments.
As more data becomes available, we’re seeing it being applied in new ways to help healthcare organizations and researchers address the current crisis and to develop best practices and guidelines to help them prepare and respond more effectively to the pandemic going forward. Industry leaders, academia and governments are joining forces to launch data sharing initiatives that enable global research and encourage the AI community to surface new insights.
Experts talk about a second wave resulting from seasonality but also sooner, now that social distancing measures are being decreased globally. Accordingly, hospitals are taking steps to be ready, improve care and increase operational efficiency when they get hit again. For example, Rush University Medical Center’s analytics experts created a tool to determine not only their hospitals’ capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, but the whole region’s capacity. They created a calculator to aggregate information about resources like beds, ventilators, and PPE, and automatically share it with other health systems and the Public Health departments so they can plan ahead.
At the same time, medtech and pharmaceutical as well as emerging AI solutions are all intensively working on developing new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. All of these developments rely on Real-World Data (RWD) to shorten their time-to-market and the overall efficiency in providing value.
Is the world prepared to collaborate based on health data sharing?
To get the pandemic under control we need insights based on data, right now, but tragically today 95 percent of health data is not accessible, because it’s either unstructured (like X-rays or genetics), highly sensitive, siloed in different information systems or locked inside multiple disperse healthcare provider organizations.
Every hospital sees a limited number of patients but security and privacy constraints result in a lengthy process for sharing data and collaborating on multi-health system studies. A typical process of pulling out a dataset, de-identifying it and preparing it for analysis or running a compliant statistical query usually takes months.
In addition, most of the analysis we see is based on very little information, like the number of identified patients, critical patients, deaths and number of tests administered. That is just scratching the surface of the data that could be used to accelerate innovation. Consider all the data that’s out there like medical history, labs, imaging, etc. We’re a long way away from answering the important questions — Am I really at risk? Is my community taking the proper measures to ensure safety? And do the health services in my community have the resources they need to deal with the outcomes of the virus?
How can the Lynx’s technology make a difference in times of crisis?
At Lynx we help healthcare organizations share sensitive healthcare data in a fast, scalable, and secure way. We take up all of the relevant data generated within healthcare provider systems, and in a matter of days, put it up in a dedicated secure cloud environment. We take care of the security and compliance of that data and make it accessible to all those who critically need it to drive their efforts — hospital analysts and decision-makers as well as scientists and academics. And we give them advanced analytic tools to investigate the data from a multiplicity of sources and build predictive models that support decision-making. For the first time, many of these provider systems get a real view of their data assets across the entire organization, and get to make a real impact on the quality of care they are providing.
Our revolutionary approach lets hospitals quickly and securely make their data available for their own research as well as for external data consumers.
We offer a schema-less solution. And we flipped the data access model completely: instead of taking the data out, we bring the algorithms into a dedicated, secure cloud environment. What this means is that we can be up and running in days. We were able to onboard our customers in a week’s time. This was extremely valuable before the coronavirus, but now our ability to get up and running in as quickly as 48 hours makes a huge difference.
This is game changing for hospitals because 1.) they retain control of the data and can decide who can access the data, which never leaves the hospital and 2.) real patient data can be studied with no risk to patient privacy. And that applies to ALL patient data including genomics, imaging, etc.
We are able to let hospitals share and explore crucial data for COVID-19 research including X-rays showing lung condition and epidemiology reports combined with other clinical and operational data. We are also working to support hospitals with predictive analytics based on their own data to better plan for inventory, staff and bed allocation. This week we’ve launched a dedicated COVID-19 research environment on our platform to enable the quick access and research of relevant data from multiple hospitals and will open it to global stakeholders that are dependent on this rich data for their COVID-19 response.