Treating medical data as a durable asset

Nature Genetics
Volume 52 Issue 10, October 2020


Perspective | 14 September 2020
Treating medical data as a durable asset
This Perspective discusses important aspects of data generation, infrastructure and management that affect how the research community uses medical data, including genetic and genomic information.
Amalio Telenti & Xiaoqian Jiang
Access to medical data is central for conducting research on genomics. However, to tap these metadata (observable traits and phenotypes, diagnoses and medication, and labels), researchers must grapple with the complex and sensitive nature of the information. In this Perspective, we argue that, at this exciting time for genomics and artificial intelligence, several critical aspects of data generation, infrastructure and management are pillars of a modern data ecosystem. Many risks to privacy and many obstacles to medical research can be eliminated or mitigated by new secure data analytics. Finally, we discuss the potential consequences of medical data exiting the institutions and being managed by individuals. These shifts in data ownership have the potential for profound disruption and opportunity across many fields.