The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in North Laurel, and Johns Hopkins Medicine have launched the Precision Medicine Analytics Platform, a new data analytics tool that will facilitate big-data research across the JHU enterprise and enable clinicians to make discoveries and improve patient care.

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease prevention and treatment that considers a person’s unique behavioral, biological, social and environmental determinants of health. A precise understanding of an individual’s health determinants can be used keep them healthy or, when necessary, to treat them and help them quickly recover from illness or injury.

Key components of precision health include the ability to comb data found in familiar sources such as medical records and research studies as well as data from nontraditional sources such as patient-reported surveys. But the volume, variety and velocity of this information far exceed the ability of researchers and systems to capitalize on the valuable insights potentially existing in the data.

Precision medicine has the power to transform the understanding and treatment of diseases, said Antony Rosen, vice dean for research at Hopkins Medicine. “This is a particularly promising moment for harnessing big data, because high-powered computers can analyze newly available troves of information, including data from genetic sequencing, heart monitors, images and electronic medical records. New technologies make it possible for researchers to combine and analyze data that before was hard to quantify, such as text from clinic notes.”