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A foundation for precision medicine and individualised care

Precision medicine is set to change the way healthcare services are delivered in Norway, and eventually across the wider world as well. But with opportunities come new challenges. BigMed, the collaborative project co-managed by DNV GL, sets out the foundation for relevant, functional individualised care.

Precision medicine is a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to the individual patient. It’s a promising development but there are barriers to implementation. 

Not only a technical venture, precision medicine necessitates smart organization of knowledge and data, as the amount of new knowledge exceeds the individual capacity of clinicians and healthcare providers, challenging conventional workflows. 

Infrastructure must be developed, then, to facilitate all aspects of data capture, analysis and application, including sharing and secondary use of anonymised data. 

Implementation concerns politicians, practitioners, patient groups, academia and industry, as regulatory frameworks and financial incentives must be adjusted to promote an overall privacy-focused, patient-centric system, and positive socio-economic healthcare outcomes. 

“The close collaboration with clinicians, researchers and technology experts in BigMed has provided us with valuable insights on the needs of specialist health services and, in particular, precision medicine. This enables us to develop services that are fit for the future”

  • Alia Zaka
  • ,
  • Hospital partner

ICT platform for novel big data analytics 

The four-year BIG data MEDical (BigMed) project, hosted by Oslo University (OUS), was initiated jointly in 2017 with partners from both academia and industry. It aims to lay the foundation for implementation of precision medicine, using three clinical areas as pilots: rare diseases, sudden cardiac death, and metastatic colorectal cancer. Thus far, the project has yielded several notable achievements. 

The broad consortium of partners have developed bioinformatics tools which will speed up the inclusion of genomic diagnostics into mainstream healthcare as well as novel tools to extract actionable medical information from multiple unstructured and structured data sources, and new analytical ICT tools for integrative analysis of patient data from electronic health records, genomic datasets and phenotype data, to inform clinical decisions. 

Meanwhile, investigations and consultations have established patient requirements and needs, as well as the feasibility, ethics, and legal ramifications of sharing curated genomic data from clinical labs in two Nordic countries. The consortium has investigated the benefits for patients in terms of healthcare outcomes and have created tools and solutions both specifically for the three clinical cases and other diseases. Several products have been developed for commercial spin off to ensure a sustainable and professional scale up through industrial partners. 

The benefits 

The goal of precision medicine is to offer granular and effective-first-time treatment of specific health conditions, avoiding unnecessary and costly treatments and the associated risks and side effects. The consortium of partners firmly believe BigMed has paved the way for developing more digital tools that healthcare professionals will find relevant and functional, enabling better and more individualised care for patients. Through developing tools and infrastructure, and changes to the Norwegian law the project has provided a foundation for addressing the barriers to the clinical implementation of precision medicine. 


Publications and reports from the project


Project descriptions, resources and deliverables


Podcast series


White paper on barriers