Snowflake has unveiled a new data cloud service targeting the healthcare and life sciences space, making good on the company’s stated strategy to increase its focus on specific vertical industries to maintain its rapid growth.
The new Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud, unveiled this week, will provide healthcare and life sciences solutions for partners and enable them to develop their own solutions – both leveraging the interoperability and data sharing capabilities of the Snowflake platform.
The Snowflake announcement is indicative of efforts by leading IT vendors, including Databricks and ServiceNow, to build on their core systems with applications and services for vertical markets – creating opportunities for channel partners along the way.
The new Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud centralizes, integrates and exchanges high volumes of cross-cloud data at scale while ensuring high levels of data security and governance, said Todd Crosslin, healthcare and life sciences industry principal at Snowflake, in an interview with CRN.
The new service is expected to attract healthcare providers seeking ways to leverage healthcare data, including unstructured data such as clinical documents, DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) files and radiology images, to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes and enhance clinical and operational decision making.
Life sciences companies, including pharmaceutical companies, can use the service to integrate and analyze healthcare and clinical trial data for drug development purposes.
“There’s just tons and tons of unstructured data in our ecosystem,” Crosslin said, pointing to the healthcare and life science companies and organizations that Snowflake already works with including Anthem, IQVIA, Komodo Health, Novartis, Siemens Healthineers and Spectrum Health.
Snowflake sees vertical industries, including healthcare and life sciences, as key to helping the data cloud company maintain its rapid rate of growth. During a second quarter earnings call in August 2021 CEO Frank Slootman said Snowflake was putting increased emphasis on developing data services for clients in vertical industries such as financial services, retail and consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, public sector, education, and advertising/media/entertainment.
Snowflake isn’t alone in targeting the healthcare space. Data lakehouse platform developer Databricks launched its Databricks Lakehouse for Healthcare and Life Sciences on March 9, targeting data management, analytics and advanced AI use cases for disease prediction, medical image classification, biomarker discovery and other tasks, according to the company.
That announcement was the latest of Databricks’ own growing portfolio of vertical industry-focused services, following the debut of Databricks Lakehouse for Retail in January and Databricks Lakehouse for Financial Services in February.
Beyond the data management arena, ServiceNow unveiled a strategy in 2020 to develop workflow solutions on its core Now Platform for specific industries including telecommunications, banking and manufacturing.
In addition to tapping into the data sharing and collaboration capabilities of the Snowflake platform, the Healthcare & Life Science Data Cloud leverages the Snowpark developer framework that developers, data engineers and data scientists use to create data applications and manage pipeline and machine learning workflows.
“This is applying the workload capabilities of Snowflake to healthcare and life sciences,” Crosslin said. “For our partners, it’s really taking advantage of Snowpark and building solutions that are native to Snowflake. It’s a huge deal for our partners.”
The new service supports industry data governance and security requirements and standards, including HIPAA and HITRUST and GxP compatibility audits. It supports the OHDSI OMOP data model and ecosystem, according to Snowflake, and can process and run HL7/FHIR messages.
Solutions and services developed and delivered by partners are a critical element of the Healthcare & Life Science Data Cloud, Crosslin said. That includes systems integrators and consulting service partners such as Cognizant, Deloitte, Infosys and NTT Data who are already building solutions for their clients on the new platform.
Also benefiting from the new offering are ISVs and application developers in the vendor’s Powered by Snowflake program including Health Catalyst, Strata and IQVIA who are building software – including analytics-as-a-service applications – that run on the Healthcare & Life Science Data Cloud.
The Healthcare & Life Science Data Cloud also enables third-party healthcare and life sciences data providers in the Snowflake Data Marketplace, including Compile, Equifax, Invitae and SameSky Health, who can market data without the need for data copying and data movement. And Snowflake’s technology partners, including machine learning technology providers Dataiku and H2o.ai and data analytics tool supplier ThoughtSpot, also work with data provided through the new cloud service.