MY TWO CENTS: Kimmo Koponen
Finland has the potential to become a proactive healthcare and personalised medicine hotspot in Europe. Personalised healthcare using genomics data, combined with patients’ medical records and a person’s own health data, can also bring future cost savings.
Finland is the ideal place to do genomics research and development. It has collected robust public healthcare records for several decades. Current technological standards and new solutions are making it possible to integrate different information and begin large-scale data collection, data mining, data analytics and data interpretation using Finland’s vast expertise and infrastructure in the ICT and life-sciences fields.
Finnish biobanks have been collecting human tissue samples from patients for nearly a century. Good-quality data consisting of more than 400,000 samples from 200,000 patients is available today. Similar, high-quality samples don’t exist anywhere else, making Finland’s collection of samples unique in the world.
Finland is currently planning to create a national reference database by utilising Finnish biobanks’ assets as well as newly collected tissue and blood samples. The database helps in sequencing selected samples from patients and connecting those with corresponding medical records. In the future, the national reference database will also include a person’s health data.
This new robust database will first be used for the R&D purposes, mainly in analytics and interpretation of the genomics, thus truly entering the personalised medicine and preventative personalised healthcare space. Findings can be used in everyday clinical work to help doctors and medical professionals in making better diagnoses and care plans for their patients.
With the gathered data, doctors will be able to identify in advance health risks that a patient is exposed to and help prevent health-related problems before they become acute. Imagine your doctor comparing your medical history, your genomics and your living habits and being able to help you to start taking preventive actions in your diet in order to delay or – in the best case – prevent certain diseases from becoming acute.
Finland has the potential to become a proactive healthcare and personalised medicine hotspot in Europe. We can lead the way into making better, more accurate and faster everyday clinical decisions and therefore save on healthcare costs. We should start now.
All MY TWO CENTS: helsinkitimes.fi/columns/my-two-cents