Home » Industry News » Improving Health Care with Genomic Data-Sharing
Joyce Drohan

Joyce Drohan

Partner & BC Leader, Omnia AI Deloitte

Jason Garay

Jason Garay

National Health Insights Executive, Deloitte

The increasing accessibility and affordability of genomic testing are transforming health care, ushering in a new approach to health care: precision medicine.

“Individual genomic profiles are the richest source of information that we have about ourselves,” says Joyce Drohan, Partner and Omnia AI BC Leader. We all respond differently to various lifestyle choices, diseases, medications, and treatments. Understanding your genomic profile can help you to navigate your risk factors, susceptibility to certain diseases, and how you may respond to different drugs and treatments, leading to more informed decision-making.

“There’s a personal treatment aspect — understanding which medications will work for you and which ones won’t,” says Drohan. “There’s also a preventative aspect, where you can better understand how your lifestyle choices either will or won’t impact your future health.”

Improving patient outcomes 

“The ability to personalize an individual’s treatment based on their genomic profile is the new frontier,” says Jason Garay, National Health Insights Executive at Deloitte. Tailored treatment improves patient outcomes and addresses the current health care system’s wastage by eliminating guesswork. 

“Many current drugs are effective in fewer than 50% of patients,” says Drohan. “With precision medicine, we can be more effective.”

Becoming better collaborators 

Exceptional genomic work is already happening in Canada and other countries, primarily in areas like cancer and rare diseases. The challenge is that “it’s sitting in silos in different locations around the world,” says Drohan. “It requires a greater degree of collaboration, technological tools with powerful cloud-based platforms, and artificial intelligence (AI) to combine and make sense of the data.”

Canada’s heterogeneous culture and single-payer health care system give us the opportunity to thrive in this area. “We have a wealth of data,” says Garay. Improved collaboration between government, public organizations (hospitals and primary care), the private sector (pharmacies, grocery stores, labs, etc.), academia (universities and researchers), and patients would allow us to integrate datasets and create a population-based view to drive insights into individual care.

Creating collaborative ecosystems 

Deloitte has built up a large analytics and AI practice in Canada, and through Omnia AI, is working to improve personalized health care. 

“Deloitte is actively working to connect organizations in innovation ecosystems to improve Canadians’ health and wellness through genomics,” says Drohan, “and to place Canada on the global stage as a leader in the field.”

Through its Canadian office network, Deloitte is convening organizations and creating the tools that these ecosystems will need to use to work together, while also addressing potential security and privacy barriers.  

“Canada is a small country and no single organization or province has the answer. To improve patient outcomes and become global leaders, we need to become the best collaborators in the world,” says Drohan. “Deloitte is actively working with ecosystems and superclusters across Canada to make sense of the large quantities of data by developing technology like machine learning to make it findable and useful.”

Canada’s moment to act

Deloitte believes that Canada has all the right ingredients to build this ecosystem: “lots of data, lots of academic and clinical expertise in terms of how best to use that data to direct treatment, and opportunities to start sharing that data across different jurisdictions and partners,” says Garay.

There’s a medical and moral imperative to leverage the existing data and genomic data to better understand how populations and individuals may benefit, and this can only be done through working together. Collaboration will allow us to drive innovation for personalized care and precision medicine, to create a healthy population. This is Canada’s moment: the time is now to seize it.

Next article