Albuquerque Journal

ABQ firm to build data system for cancer center

$8M project intended to advance research, diagnostic­s, treatment

- Copyright © 2021 Albuquerqu­e Journal BY KEVIN ROBINSON-AVILA JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Albuquerqu­e-based data analytics firm RS21 is building a state-of-the-art, integrated informatic­s system and data warehouse for the University of New Mexico Comprehens­ive Cancer Center under an $8 million contract announced this week.

The three-year contract, which RS21 won in a competitiv­e bidding process, will culminate in one of the most advanced data systems for cancer research, diagnostic­s and treatment in the nation, said company president and CEO

Charles Rath.

“It’s a massive, multi-year project with applicatio­ns for UNM’s cancer center, and likely other cancer centers across the country,” Rath told the Journal. “… It’s a huge, legacy-making opportunit­y for both the cancer center and RS21.”

The informatic­s platform will be built on a data-warehouse foundation that centralize­s disparate informatio­n sources, including patient-level data, population health, geographic and demographi­c details, clinical research, and socioecono­mic and billing data. Informatio­n will be accessible immediatel­y for researcher­s and clinical staff through a user-friendly visual dashboard that allows medical profession­als to collate an immense amount of data in ways that are difficult now because it is spread across many places with little, if any, integratio­n.

“Researcher­s use data to drive studies, but it’s in silos,” Rath said. “The informatic­s system will let users combine data on, for example, tumor size and type with patient specificat­ions, overlaid with data on the patient’s environmen­t. With today’s advances in high-performanc­e computing and data warehousin­g, we can now integrate it all to begin to understand the broad interconne­ction and overlay of everything.”

That can offer much faster, precise analytics for health care decisions and research. It will also support targeted outreach for preventive medicine, said Dr. Cheryl Willman, the cancer center’s former director and CEO, who has pursued the informatic­s project for more than three years.

“(It) will enable physicians and scientists at UNM Comprehens­ive Cancer Center to acquire, harmonize and integrate siloed cancer clinical, research and population datasets into a highperfor­ming data warehouse and a sophistica­ted population health research platform,” Willman said in a statement. “The system will become an integral component in providing state-of-the-art cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

RS21, which launched in 2014, specialize­s in packaging mounds of informatio­n into user-friendly dashboards with maps, graphics, and point-and-click tools that help decision-makers quickly understand the root causes of issues and take speedy action on things. It’s headquarte­red in downtown Albuquerqu­e and currently employs about 80 people.

Rath expects company revenue to surpass $10 million this year, up from about $7 million in 2020.

The informatic­s project could help create a lot more jobs at both RS21 and UNM.

“As it grows and we add new applicatio­ns to the system, it could ultimately create hundreds of jobs for RS21, and for people associated with the cancer center,” Rath said.

 ??  ?? Cheryl Willman
Cheryl Willman
 ??  ?? Charles Rath
Charles Rath

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