If there has been one main learning for Roche during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been that collaboration is key to creating meaningful change. COVID-19 created a common enemy and an effective response requires community mobilization and the collection of actionable data and insights to support patients, frontline healthcare providers, health institutions, supply chains and governments. Collaboration among sectors and industries is essential to develop and implement the rapid innovation needed to make change.
This is why Roche Canada assembled the Roche Data Science Coalition (RDSC) – a group of like-minded academic and private organizations committed to working with the global research community to collect and share knowledge and healthcare data.
Launched in April 2020, members of the RDSC include Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), doc.ai, NVIDIA, RGAX, Self Care Catalysts / HealthStorylines, ThinkData Works Inc and Vector Institute. This multi-industry coalition came together to lend expertise and resources to help tackle the challenges of COVID-19 quickly.
In its first eight weeks, the coalition developed over 100 digital solutions including artificial intelligence models, virtual dashboards, market reports and deepened relationships with Canadian and international stakeholders.
Together, the RDSC created a centralized repository, housed by ThinkData Works’ Namara platform, which offers over 200 publicly available population datasets gathered from resources around the globe. This data provides the scientific and research community with a robust foundation for current and future COVID-19 research. The data insights are used by coalition collaborators alongside patients, clinicians, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists and data scientists in order to accelerate research efforts, evaluate solutions and ensure knowledge is mobilized globally.
Additionally, the coalition has made digital self-assessment tools available that can be used by anyone suspected to have or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. With the support of Self Care Catalysts and their free app, Health Storylines, individuals are empowered by the tools to self-report data through mobile applications. Anonymized datasets from this app are transparently shared with the RDSC centralized repository where they are freely available to researchers and healthcare professionals around the world.
The Coalition also launched a challenge administered by Kaggle, an online community of data scientists and machine learners, asking their community of 4.3 million people to answer questions that focus on capacity management challenges identified at the frontlines as well as research studies for COVID-19. As a result, many across the globe have convened on the platform to collaborate and exchange domain knowledge expertise, data set contribution, creative solutions and more.
To help Canadians understand the impact of the measures that have been taken and how we are doing on a global level, the coalition released the Roche Canada: COVID-19 Global Access Report and Dashboard, providing context-specific information to inform decisions regarding the use of COVID-19 testing strategies, social distancing policies and the current state of incidence both via standard reporting and prediction models.
“Our biggest win is that the coalition creates a prospect of what rapid innovation can look like, and what’s possible,” said Fanny Sie, Strategic Healthcare Partner, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health, at Roche Canada. “The outcome of the RDSC comes down to how people connect, and we saw through this collaboration that the RDSC is building a framework for the future, not just for COVID-19 but to tackle many potential challenges that may arise.”
The RDSC showed that when you can reach a team outside of your practice and learn what drives their organizational passion, you can work together to create a powerful outcome for everyone.
Even as we shift into recovery and reopening, we know COVID-19 is still a global concern. There are opportunities for accelerated innovation and the Roche Data Science Coalition is dedicated to mobilizing diverse groups of stakeholders to benefit all Canadians.
For more information on this initiative visit the Roche Data Science Coalition online.