Blog: A Business Model for Precision Medicine and Big Data

I am a featured speaker at the upcoming Precision Medicine Summit being put on in Washington, DC, by the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) on May 17 and 18. My talk is titled A Business Model for Precision Medicine and Big Data, and you can learn more about when and where here

As I will explain in much more detail at the event, a major data gap exists in efforts currently underway to develop precision medicine. The big data collection and dissemination requirements that will be needed to track the use of precision medicine in patients’ medical records have gotten short shrift up until now.  We need a comprehensive model that is rigorous enough to enable the development of comprehensive approaches to harnessing data, yet flexible enough to allow for innovation and creativity.

Stated simply, existing electronic health records (EHR) do not have the ability to handle precision medicine or genomics data.  The challenges for handling electronics records associated with the use of precision medicine begin with the reality that the architecture underlying our current approach to electronic health records is focused on collecting information such as family history and drug interactions. 

We need to plan and strategize for how EHR will work with precision medicine to ensure the protection of patient privacy and security, as well as to address equity and disparity issues.  It will also be important to develop thoroughly traceable protocols to ensure that discoveries are developed for the purpose of addressing that precise patient or a group of patients.  The use of population health data is essential to the success of personalized medicine, but it requires an ecosystem of trust and appropriate safeguards in order to ensure that all groups are served in the process.

The good news is that several EHR vendors have, or are currently working on solutions that could be harnessed to provide the needed functionality.  The precision medicine movement must begin to work with electronic health records vendors to determine the key business, technology and data requirements needed to enhance the role of EHR in precision medicine.  

In my talk, I will present a comprehensive business model for precision medicine and key needed steps to develop innovations related to big data that provide solutions for all of these issues and more.

Sam Hanna, MBA, CISA, CBCP, CRISC is the program director for the Masters of Science in Management of Health Informatics & Analytics (HealthInformatics@GW) program at The George Washington University.  Prior to this role, he held leadership positions at global professional services firms where he was responsible for creating and leading large multidisciplinary health industries practices, as well as an investment portfolio in new technologies, solutions and startups.  He is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to entrepreneurship and innovation, health IT, analytics, and the intersection of translational sciences and the business of health.  He can be reached at

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