The New Zealand based Precision Driven Health (PDH) research partnership has hit the ground running with a significant number of healthcare projects underway in the first 18 months of operation. Positioning New Zealand at the forefront of precision medicine, PDH research is developing data-driven solutions that provide clinicians with revolutionary tools for decision making.

By tapping into the huge amount of data that is available through new sources, PDH is exploring meaningful ways to present a new generation of data to clinicians at the point of care. This will unveil many more detailed insights about a person to clinicians, meaning they can understand that person quickly and make more accurate decisions.

There are four key themes that PDH focuses on including new data sources, predictive modelling, precise healthcare, and empowering patients. Here are four examples of PDH projects underway that align with these themes:  

  • PDH is exploring how health data can be stored in a research repository that aims to make it easier for researchers to safely access health data that is not identifiable to a patient. Ultimately this project is about streamlining the process of gathering data and enabling researchers in the future to navigate their way through the data more easily, while maintaining patient privacy and access control.
  • Secondly, due to the quality and quantity of new monitoring devices, we are working on a project regarding vital sign measurements and decision support. The goal is to develop a technology that integrates data from devices into a patient’s personal health records, giving clinicians a much broader view of the patient. For example, a patient arrives in hospital wearing a device with vital sign monitoring that is able to communicate via Bluetooth with the hospital computer to display this information on the patient’s electronic health record. The nurses and doctors are then able to make fast, accurate decisions based on this extra information that is presented to them at the point of care.
  • Another significant project the partnership researchers have been working on is developing clinical risk calculators and assessments to help clinicians make decisions at the point of care. The biggest driver for this project is that not all studies can be applied to a certain population, as patients can vary. An example is the work PDH have done on surgical outcomes, looking at all the surgeries in New Zealand over the last 5 years and using this data to analyse mortality rates and quality of life and make predictions on things like risk of readmission.
  • Empowering patients is another area of importance for the research partnership, and one of our current projects is about information consent and best practice. It focuses on making it easy for patients to ‘opt-out’ if they no longer want to share certain health information. The rise of precision medicine has led to different levels of consent, such as consenting to share health data for research purposes.

After the first eighteen months, we have supported over forty projects, developed tools such as the surgical risk calculator, and are constantly adding new research initiatives that will set us up for further developments in the emerging field of precision medicine.

Watch the video of Kevin Ross presenting at the HiNZ 2017 Conference about the first 18 months of PDH’s operation.