If there was any doubt about how important big data is to today's biotech industry, simply consider the recent donation made by Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Asia, to Oxford University. He gave $31 million to the school to help fund a research center dedicated to exploring the challenges and opportunities of big data. The Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery will employ over 600 scientists to help develop innovative ways for the biotech industry to get the most out of the massive amounts of information that their experiments are producing.
Big data has changed the IT demands of every biotech company, regardless of size. In order to be successful in today's research climate, you need to have the IT infrastructure to manage the important data your company is producing. Here are two important sources of data that many biotech companies will need to store and manage in coming years
Electronic Medical Records
The federal government has invested $19 billion to develop the use of electronic medical records. As health data on every patient in the country becomes available in digital format, biotech companies will have valuable access to exactly the kind of information that their experiments rely on. But giving form and function to the medical histories of millions of patients is no easy task, and biotech companies will need to be prepared to manage having huge new sources of digital data to wade through. In order to make these records useful for the purposes of your laboratory, you will need to have IT solutions in place that can scale and adapt. Electronic medical records are an amazing clinical resource, but only for companies that are prepared to manage the demands of biotech data storage on a massive level.
Federal Safety Standards
The safety standards set for any biotech innovation, whether it is a drug, a process, or a technology, are higher than they have ever been before. Every product must overwhelmingly prove that it is safe before it is allowed to be sold on the market. The most reliable and efficient way to satisfy federal regulations is to process the largest amount of available data during the experimental stages.
Access to clinical and regulatory data gives biotech companies the ability to avoid unnecessary setbacks, but it also places a stress on existing IT infrastructures. In order to test every possible contingency that relates to your new development, you will need to have the storage and processing power to maximize the effectiveness of your technology. Establishing an IT foundation that is tailored to the needs of biotech data storage and management is a necessary step for any startup.
Every company is concerned about IT, but biotech startup companies have unique needs that not every IT provider understands. Healthcare innovators have a unique priority to manage huge sources of data that other companies can't even conceive of. For that reason, working with an IT company that specifically serves the biotech industry is the best way to guarantee that you have the technological tools in place to manage the inevitable challenges of big data. Read more about the unique IT concerns of biotech startup businesses and strategies to respond to them in our new white paper, “After the Seed: Planning IT Investment for a Biotech Startup.”