Enabling federated research for life sciences

A leading data aggregator in healthcare research partnered with Apheris to provide life sciences customers with granular access to patient data while ensuring GDPR compliance. Apheris enabled fully federated machine learning, optimizing the model training process and enhancing customer satisfaction by addressing long-standing GDPR issues. This partnership illustrates Apheris's potential to unlock data assets securely and efficiently.
Published 20 July 2023

A leading data aggregator revolutionizing healthcare research

Headquartered in the US and founded with the aim to revolutionize the healthcare research landscape, our customer has played a pivotal role in supporting life sciences businesses with the use of real-world data. Through enhancing study protocol design, optimizing study feasibility, and streamlining site selection, they have made significant strides in their domain. By providing accurate and timely data, they empower researchers to drive scientific discovery and improve patient lives.

Federated research network for life sciences

The primary objective of this data aggregator was to provide more granular access to patient data, including sensitive EU data, for their life sciences customers. However, their latest solution, which enables life science customers to run their own models and analytics on the data, was hindered by GDPR compliance issues. This obstacle was not just a hurdle to their service expansion but was also a concern raised by their life sciences customers for over a year.

Fully federated and GDPR compliant model training at the edge

To tackle this problem, they worked with Apheris to offer a solution through fully federated machine learning and statistics at the edge, ensuring no sensitive EU data left the hospital environments during the training phase.

Apheris' solution featured key attributes including computational access governance, asset policies, and the non-movement of data, critical for regulatory compliance:

  • Non-movement of data: a critical aspect in meeting GDPR compliance and enabling ML workloads to run on EU data.

  • Computational access governance: the data remains secured within partner hospitals, and the data aggregator permits only privacy-preserving computations to be executed.

  • Asset policies: simple and scalable approach to define who can do what, ensuring only permitted computations are run on the sensitive data.

These features facilitated control over data usage, preserved data privacy, and ensured only anonymous results were returned to the user.

This made it possible to provide granular computational access to EU data. As a result, life science customers could train models on EU data for the first-time. The steps to validate a pre-trained model on EU data reduced from eight to four, enabling faster and more accurate model validation with EU data.

"We have the capabilities to interrogate our rich dataset, but we lack the governance and privacy piece to enable our customers to do this on EU data. This is what Apheris helps solve for us." Product Director, Data Aggregator

Product Director, Healthcare Data Aggregator
Federated data sources in Europe are programmatically accessed by global users. Users securely send computations while Apheris ensures they are allowed and returns privacy-preserving results. All without centralizing data and the data custodian retaining control of their data assets.

Driving efficiency, ensuring compliance, and enhancing customer satisfaction

Adopting Apheris led to several notable benefits:

  • Streamlined process: An 8-step process reduced to 4, enabling faster and more accurate model validation with EU data. Model training on EU data was a reality for the first time.

  • Regulatory compliance: EU data made accessible with granular computational access for the data aggregator’s customers, compliant with GDPR.

  • Customer satisfaction, increased revenue: By fulfilling 12 months of customer requests and addressing the GDPR issue, model training on EU data became a reality for the first time, unlocking a significant revenue opportunity

Unlocking the value of sensitive data

This healthcare data aggregator's experience demonstrates how Apheris can help businesses unlock the full potential of their data assets in a secure, efficient, and compliant manner.

Are you ready to unlock more value from your data?

Get in touch today!

Federated learning & analytics
Computational governance
Machine learning & AI
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