The importance of Health Data for personalized medicine

Dr. Florian Rüter and Dr. Benjamin Kasenda explain how important data sharing is for the future of medicine, and why most patients are willing to provide their Health Data for research projects.

Florian Rüter: Health Data includes all clinically acquired data, such as laboratory values and measurements, as well as personal and socio-economic data that can be combined with environmental data. This real-world data is a valuable treasure trove. Currently, medical knowledge is mainly based on clinical studies. However, structured real-world data could be very valuable in the future, especially for personalized medicine.

Benjamin Kasenda: In order to gain knowledge, we need data, especially Health Data from our patients. We can collect this data in various places, be it in clinical studies or as part of day-to-day medical care. All this data is necessary to make decisions and evaluate therapies. It is the basis for evidence-based, i.e. scientifically sound medicine.

Florian Rüter: The benefits for the patients themselves cannot yet be clearly answered. At present, people who make their Health Data available do not yet benefit directly from this release. Historically, however, all medical knowledge is based on experience. A significant part of current data is based on evidence from clinical trials, which are only possible because patients have shared their data. The medical research that benefits us today was built on this foundation.

In terms of technology, I can well imagine that in the future it will be possible to intelligently combine data from different sources as part of personalized medicine. One example of this is the

which could provide a central location where structured patient data could be stored and made available for research in compliance with all data protection and ethical regulations. However, Switzerland is still at the beginning in this respect.

Benjamin Kasenda: In my experience, almost all patients are willing to participate in research projects or provide their routine data for possible future research projects if it is explained to them that this is to improve medical care and help future patients. Almost everyone agrees to share their data if they understand that the aim is to better understand diseases and improve medical care.

Florian Rüter: There are various promising projects that work with Health Data. One example is a project in the field offor lung tumors, which is being carried out jointly by Roche and the University Hospital Basel. Here, various Health Data are combined in order to clarify questions relating to personalized medicine and costs. In addition to clinical studies, such holistic approaches are particularly important in the context of personalized medicine and the associated issues.

Benjamin Kasenda: I see the future in the more intelligent use of existing routine Health Data (i.e. from care provided by GPs or hospitals). With better structured routine data, we can conduct even more efficient research. The distinction between clinical research and routine data will become increasingly blurred, allowing us to answer relevant questions more quickly, which will benefit many patients. I see great potential in this.

About the people

Dr. Florian Rüter is an experienced cardiac and thoracic surgeon at the University Hospital Basel, who is particularly committed to the further development of patient care through value-based healthcare concepts. He heads the Department of Quality Management and promotes the use of assessments by patients themselves to continuously improve the quality of treatment. His background includes a medical degree in Germany, further training in leadership and team dynamics as well as specialized courses at Harvard Business School.

PD Dr. med. Dr. phil. Benjamin Kasenda is a renowned oncologist and specialist in internal medicine, hematology and oncology at the University Hospital Basel. He studied medicine in Germany and trained in internal medicine and oncology. He also has a doctorate in philosophy, which emphasizes his interdisciplinary approach to patient care. Dr. Kasenda is strongly committed to the research and development of new cancer therapies and integrates cutting-edge science into clinical practice to develop personalized treatment strategies for his patients. In addition to his clinical work, he teaches at the university and contributes to the training of future specialists.

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