Critical care units are one of the most data-rich environments in clinical settings, with data being generated by advanced patient monitoring, frequent laboratory and radiologic tests, and around-the-clock evaluation. There are substantial opportunities in linking data that are collected as a part of such clinical practice with data collected in a research setting, such as genome wide studies or comprehensive imaging protocols. However, security and privacy issues have historically been a significant barrier to the storage, analysis, and linkage of such biomedical data. Further, disparate technologies hinder collaboration across teams, most of which lack the secure systems required to enable federation and sharing of these data. This is particularly true when clinical practice or research designs require close to real time analysis and timely feedback, such as when dealing with streamed medical data or output from clinical laboratories. Current commercial and research solutions often fail to integrate different data types, are incapable of handling streaming data, and rely solely on the security measures put in place by the organizations that deploy them.

This proposal seeks to build FoRCE (Focus on Research and Clinical Evaluation), a scalable and adaptable add-on module to the existing Indoc Informatics platform that will address the critical gaps in cybersecurity and privacy infrastructure within shared clinical and research settings, while fulfilling important unmet needs for both the clinical and research communities. FoRCE will provide the secure architecture and processes to support the collection, federation and sharing of data from distributed clinical settings, including critical care units, clinical laboratories, and imaging facilities. The proposed platform will address several key issues including security considerations, infrastructure and software requirements for linkage, and solutions for handling streaming real time medical data, and ensuring regulatory and ethics compliance when linking diverse medical data modalities in a clinical setting.

FoRCE will be designed and developed with broad applicability in mind, and will therefore allow the different data types from numerous technologies and across multiple disease states to utilize the platform. The long term impact of FoRCE on improving the health of Ontarians is of course dependent on its utilization within research and clinical settings. An initial project which will utilize the platform as part of the testing and validation of FoRCE includes Dr. Maslove’s integrated approach to merging genomic and physiologic data streams from the ICU in the context of clinical research. FoRCE will enable Dr. Maslove’s team of critical care researchers to move beyond predictors of survival to focus on predictors of response to therapy, so that clinical trials in the ICU can be optimized to produce actionable evidence and personalized results. This will lead to better allocation of ICU resources, which in Canada cost nearly $3,000 per patient per day – $3.72 billion per year.

Industry Partner(s):Indoc Research

Academic Institution:Queen's University

Academic Researcher: David Maslove

Focus Areas: Cybersecurity, Digital Media, Health

Platforms: Cloud, Parallel CPU