Roche, GE ally to develop clinical decision support software

Roche and GE are pooling their resources to develop clinical decision support software. The partners plan to introduce joint-branded dashboards that pool data generated by their in vitro diagnostics and medical scanners to help oncology and critical care teams make better, faster decisions.

The alliance is built on a simple idea: Siloed data hinders healthcare decisions. GE is the source of a lot of imaging and monitoring data. Roche is the source of a lot of biomarker, tissue pathology and genomics data. Therefore, if GE and Roche can bring the data they generate together into a unified platform powered by analytics they may help doctors to be able to make faster, better informed decisions.

In practice, the goal is to create joint-branded clinical decision support software that helps doctors in oncology and critical care see the best path forward for their patients. This software will pull in all the types of data generated by GE and Roche’s medical equipment—plus patient records, medical best practices and research outcomes—and turn machine learning on the pooled repository. 

Nadeem Ishaque, chief innovation officer at GE Healthcare Imaging, cites the bringing together of diagnostic images, pathology and genomic information for a breast cancer patient as an example of the potential of the collaboration.

“By leveraging this combined data set using machine learning and deep learning, it may be possible in the future to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies that are performed due to suspicious findings in the mammograms and possibly also reduce mastectomies that are performed to combat ductal carcinoma in situ, a condition that may evolve into invasive breast cancer in some cases,” Ishaque said in a statement.

Many of the ideas driving the GE-Roche collaboration have been discussed for years without making a dent in healthcare inefficiencies. Everybody wants to bring down silos. Many people see machine learning as the way to capitalize on the explosion in data. Discussion of these ideas has yet to manifest in better healthcare, however.

Only time will tell whether GE and Roche can move the needle. But the extent of their combined medical technology portfolios means they come to the challenge armed with one piece of the data puzzle in place. 

GE and Roche are initially focusing on oncology and critical care, areas where the need for speed, the presence of broad, deep data sets or the availability of personalized treatments make the value of their planned products clear. But in the longer term the partnership could expand out beyond these initial areas of focus.