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Medical Research

COVID-19 Heightened the Importance of Interconnected Data for Medical Research

by Heidi Bullman

Attention has been focused on the field of medical research this year like never before. As doctors and scientists worked to find both a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19, they looked to AI and interconnected data to deliver effective results in record time.

“Where there’s interconnection, medical researchers are able to uncover amazing insights,” explained Tim Waters of Equinix.“Think about how doctors today can determine immediately if you’re going to have an arrhythmia that isn’t detectable by the human ear. It’s predictive technology, sorting through interconnected data, that can analyze the human heart and identify issues as well as areas of concern. We’re seeing this technology used by doctors and it’s also prominent in the biopharmaceutical/medical research space as well.”

From the very beginning of the pandemic, the medical research community embraced AI and ML supported by sophisticated cloud computing and data storage environments in the fight against COVID-19. Teams that were skilled in machine learning and medical imaging analysis were critical in jump-starting the identification of patterns of disease which led to the development of AI models that could predict the severity of illness in COVID-19 patients and if they needed more advanced treatments. Fast forward to today, 9 months into the pandemic, AI is being used to develop a vaccine. But, at the heart of the work being accomplished by AI, and other innovations including cloud computing is interconnected data.

“There are a lot of different ways that interconnected data is modernizing medical research,” explained Dr. Justin Collier, Chief Healthcare Advisor of World Wide Technology. “As we know, there’s only so much that can be achieved manually.  Leveraging AI and machine learning to enhance efficiency helps to reveal new correlations that we might never discover on our own. That’s powerful. Additionally, AI and machine learning help to automate and that enables precision and accuracy, especially in terms of collecting data.”

Throughout 2020, AI, cloud computing, and machine learning have been critical in the fight against COVID-19. These technologies have helped doctors to identify effective treatments more quickly and develop a vaccine in record time. But what has driven success is interconnected data. In this way, data is leveraged across platforms and between people to reveal valuable insights and bring us one step closer to the end of COVID-19.

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