Revolutionising Research: The rise of modern research data platforms

Revolutionising Research: The rise of modern research data platforms

As access to vast amounts of data continues to rise, the creation of modern research data platforms is a critical step for successful health research outcomes, and these platforms are becoming an important strategic asset for healthcare organisations around the world. 

The Magnitude of Data

Access to data has been one of the biggest leaps forward for researchers over the last few years, in fact a veritable tsunami of data has been building all over the world. For example, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder project is estimated to generate 750 terabytes per second of imagery in the next few years1 , and the cost of human genomic sequencing has dropped from almost US$100 million in 2001 to well under US$1,000 in 2019. Estimates vary, but the amount of sequencing data could reach between 2 and 40 exabytes per year, and that’s just for human data2 . All of this should be making researchers lives easier, but existing onsite data platforms are not designed to cope with the increasing storage, cataloguing, processing and accessing requirements of researchers using such a large amount of data. What should be an exciting opportunity can easily become a heavy burden.

"The cost of human genomic sequencing has dropped from almost US$100 million in 2001 to well under US$1,000 in 2019. "

The impact of platform modernisation

This is where innovation in modern research data platforms becomes important. There are increasing examples of healthcare organisations using modern data platforms to collect, collate and analyse vast amounts of data, with extraordinary results. One example is Johns Hopkins University who use data analytics to collate several sources of data into a single portal to view details about the current pandemic3 . Or the Seattle Children’s Hospital using analytics to provide faster and more accurate patient diagnoses4 . And here in Australia, BizData partnered with PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA to create an automated analysis platform which radically altered the viability of organ transplants and the number of people able to be considered for organ transplants5 .

This can provide a large challenge for any organisation that has always operated with onsite, physical systems, and yet it is a challenge that increasing numbers of healthcare organisations are rising to meet. Indeed, a 2015 KPMG study in the United States found that only 10% of health organisations were using advanced tools for data collection with analytics and predictive capabilities6 , but just three years later an updated study found that 93% of hospital CIOs were actively hiring teams to develop and manage the infrastructure systems that support these modern data platforms7 .

In spite of these challenges, the possibilities of well-managed data are incredibly exciting and as a result, data platforms are having to be created, managed and supported very differently. Previously, inadequate processing power, limited access to infrastructure resources, and constrained capacity have resulted in a curtailing of research scope; with research often based on what these limitations would allow. Now, researchers and infrastructure teams are freed to explore research from a position of opportunity, limited only by their imagination. Modern data platforms also free research infrastructure teams – previously gatekeepers to limited resources and burdened by an overwhelming influx of data – to focus on high value opportunities, working with researchers in a partnership that is focused on tangible outcomes. With the development of a modern research data platform, dreaming is back on the table.

How we can help

For any health researcher or organisation wanting to update, the creation of a modern data platform can be daunting. At BizData, we understand these challenges and have been working with many clients to build data platforms that not only meet the needs of researchers and infrastructure teams but also provide a framework that is specifically customised to the needs of each organisation, and which can be readily evolved to meet future research requirements.

To help researchers on this path, we have created an eBook that will support your organisation to plan the creation and maintenance of the best possible data platform for your research needs. The eBook has been written by BizData’s Research and Advanced Computing Director, with over 20 years of experience solving complex technical problems for customers in research, education, health, financial services, oil and gas, and other industries.

1.Stephens ZD, Lee SY, FaghriF, et al.Big Data: Astronomical or Genomical?PLoSBiol. 2015;13(7):e1002195. Published 2015 Jul 7. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002195
2.Wetterstrand KA. DNA Sequencing Costs: Data from the NHGRI Genome Sequencing Program (GSP) Available Accessed January 18, 2021.