Medical innovation relies on swift access to sound data. The missing link between cures, cutting edge medicine, and groundbreaking treatment could already be out there, buried in the data of another researcher. With hundreds of medical labs running tests and experiments across the globe, it can be difficult to locate pertinent data to find that missing link. Vivli, a global research data sharing platform, is leading the charge in breaking down silos in medical research by taking data and putting it in the cloud for greater accessibility.
Prior to Vivli, there was no centralized location to house scientific research. Oftentimes, researchers would have to sift through 10 or more separate datasets or locations to find the complementary research they could use to advance their studies. Vivli set up a comprehensive database using the cloud so researchers could store, share, and access healthcare data to innovate quickly.
“I believe we’re at a critical point for data sharing,” says Rebecca Li, Vivli’s executive director. “Scientific culture is starting to move toward researchers willing to share their data; we at Vivli believe that clinical trial data sharing is imperative.”
In order to build the platform, Vivli set out to find a cloud solution that offered scalability as well as security.
Leveraging similar datasets to achieve optimal results
The idea to create a centralized space for sharing and exchanging data arose out of the Multi-Regional Clinical Trial Centre of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and Harvard (MRCT Centre). They wanted to enhance trial data by promoting and sharing it between locations. In 2013, the idea launched and numerous stakeholders set out to change the way data was shared and managed between clinical trials.
Before Vivli, there were a number of data systems in place. However, there was no one platform that could connect these existing disparate data sets, making data sharing a problem for researchers across the field. Vivli’s cloud-based system makes it easier for researchers to find relevant data to complement their research. Additionally, its embedded computational tools help researchers make better sense of large-scale data. This allows clinical trial data to be easily shared and analyzed at the same time, giving practitioners what the need to build on each other’s research and advance the medical field.
“Vivli is a ‘one-stop shop’ with data in one place. It’s now simple for researchers to globally share data,” says Ara Tahmassian, Harvard University’s chief research compliance officer.
This solution to data sharing allows information to flow seamlessly between labs so researchers can gain greater insights on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, malaria, and much more.
Boosting the global reach of medical data
Vivli brings together more than 4,200 datasets and 19 members and represents two million clinical trial participants across 106 countries. The international reach of the platform gives researchers access to datasets across the globe, allows them to deposit important results and easily share them with colleagues. The platform’s computational tools allow data to be automatically combined, analyzed, and matched with similar datasets.
Vivli also allows for the long-term storing of data, which means researchers can leverage sophisticated tools to provide for a more robust analysis of datasets over a longer period. It effectively breaks down silos across disparate datasets, making it possible for researchers to connect to other existing platforms and boost the accessibility of their findings. This high level of data sharing gives rise to future research designs making more complex investigations possible. Now, more information on diverse groups of people is helping to increase the potential for research that spans across multiple data sets to widen the scope of analysis and come up with advanced results.
The future of connected data with Microsoft
Vivli chose to partner with Microsoft Azure because it was the right platform that offered scalability and security to ensure the anonymity of research data. Azure allows users to migrate data from on-premise networks and upload it into the cloud so researchers can pull data and analyze it from their labs on their own time. Not only was Azure able to accommodate Vivli’s current needs, it was able to take into consideration the company’s future needs. Now, the platform has brought a considerable amount of data to a central location to lead to better research outcomes.
Although Vivli is still in a nascent stage, the future looks bright. The user-led platform has the potential to grow quickly with additional types of data. With Vivli, researchers have an unparalleled ability to make great strides in the medical field. In an area of focus where data is king, the shareability and accessibility of various studies has the potential to open up a new era of medical discovery. Whether it’s new treatments, cures, or uncovering new trends in disease progression, with data silos being broken down across the globe, the potential for medical discovery is vast.