xCures: Empowering Healthcare Researchers To Deeply Understand Each Patient’s Medical Journey

By Amit Chowdhry • Updated April 25, 2024

xCures is a healthcare data management company focusing on data completeness and real-time data access. Pulse 2.0 interviewed xCures CEO Mika Newton to learn more about the company.

Role Of AI For Medical Data

Can you describe the role of AI and specialized Natural Language Processing in transforming unstructured medical data into structured, analyzable data in your platform? Newton said:

AI and specialized Natural Language Processing (NLP) are pivotal in converting unstructured medical data into structured, analyzable formats, crucial for deep healthcare insights. As we developed the xCures Platform we faced a major challenge of dealing with an enormous volume and variety of data. The platform receives on average more than 1,400 records for each patient from over 30 different provider locations. These records come in diverse formats, including structured data, semi-structured (unstructured text in a structured location), unstructured notes, and image files such as DICOM, PDF, TIFF, JPG, etc.”

“To manage this complexity, the platform employs a combination of machine learning and NLP techniques. These technologies are tasked with digitizing and organizing the wide array of data types found in patient medical records. The process encompasses identity verification, document classification, natural language processing, and AI-powered semantic inference analysis. Together, these steps efficiently map unstructured inputs into a comprehensive data model. For example, NLP is utilized to meticulously parse clinical notes, extracting pertinent information such as medical terms, diagnoses, treatment responses, and outcomes, while AI algorithms analyze and categorize information from imaging and genetic reports.”

“This transformation is not just about data organization; it’s foundational for leveraging healthcare information fully. Structuring this vast amount of data enables the aggregation of detailed patient profiles, crucial for personalized care and advanced research. It also underpins predictive modeling and personalized treatment planning by providing a standardized dataset ready for sophisticated analytics. Moreover, this structured data repository is a boon for medical research, offering a rich source of information for the discovery of novel treatments and the broadening of medical knowledge. Through these efforts, xCures significantly enhances the utility of healthcare data, fostering improvements in patient care and facilitating the advancement of medical science.”

Use Case For Oncology

How does xCures’ technology specifically cater to the unique needs of oncology patients and healthcare providers? Newton explained:

“Oncology is a complex medical field requiring knowledge of the patient’s medical history. There is cancer-specific information related to the clinco-genomic characteristics of cancer. There is also a requirement to have a holistic view of the patient to understand comorbidities and concomitant use of medications, etc.”

“Every cancer and every patient is unique so there is a significant amount of inference and interpretation of any data to provide a crisp and useful information set. The xCures platform was trained on over 150,000 patients, both with and without cancer, to create a system that creates broad utility but also addresses the specific requirements of complex and deadly diseases such as cancer.”

Platform Expansion

What inspired the expansion of xCures’ AI platform beyond oncology, and how does it align with the company’s overall mission? Newton pointed out:

“The expansion of xCures’ AI platform beyond oncology was inspired by the realization that the tools and methodologies developed for cancer patients could have a profound impact on the broader healthcare landscape. Recognizing that the complex data analysis and personalized treatment approaches used in oncology could benefit patients with a variety of conditions, xCures saw an opportunity to extend its platform’s capabilities. This move aligns with the company’s overarching mission to improve patient outcomes and advance medical research across the healthcare spectrum. By addressing all comorbidities and concomitant medications and aggregating records from the entire care team—not just oncologists—the platform became more versatile and comprehensive.”

“This strategic expansion allows xCures to harness its expertise in managing complex healthcare data and apply it to other diseases, which are often less complex than cancer but no less important in terms of patient care. The decision to broaden the platform’s scope reflects the company’s commitment to leveraging technology to make a positive impact on healthcare delivery and patient lives. It embodies the mission of facilitating better healthcare decisions through data-driven insights and personalized care, regardless of the medical condition in question. By doing so, xCures aims to accelerate the pace of medical innovation and improve the quality of care for patients across a wider range of therapeutic areas, making healthcare more efficient, effective, and patient-centered.”

Empowering Physicians To Make More Informed Decisions

In what ways does the platform empower physicians and researchers to make more informed decisions regarding cancer treatments? Newton affirmed:

The platform significantly empowers physicians and researchers in oncology by offering comprehensive data integration, which aggregates and structures a wide array of patient data, including clinical histories, genomic data, and imaging information. This detailed and holistic view of each patient’s medical background enables healthcare professionals to fully consider all relevant health aspects, such as potential comorbidities and genetic markers that may influence the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Tailoring treatment plans to the individual needs and conditions of patients is crucial for personalized medicine, ensuring that each patient receives the most appropriate care based on their unique circumstances.”

“Advanced analytics and AI are at the core of the platform’s capabilities, providing actionable insights through the analysis of unstructured medical data. The use of machine learning and natural language processing uncovers patterns, trends, and potential therapeutic targets, which might remain hidden through traditional analysis methods. Predictive modeling is also a significant feature, forecasting the outcomes of various treatment options, thus enabling physicians to select treatments that are most likely to be effective and have minimal side effects. This supports the personalization of cancer treatment, contributing to the advancement of novel cancer therapies.”

“Furthermore, the platform promotes real-time data access and encourages collaborative knowledge sharing among medical professionals. This ensures that treatment decisions are informed by the latest scientific evidence and research findings. The platform’s emphasis on a patient-centric approach guarantees that treatment plans are aligned with individual patient preferences and values, enhancing treatment adherence and patient satisfaction. As a transformative tool in oncology, the platform improves the quality of care and advances the pursuit of more effective cancer treatments, making a significant impact on the field.”

Transforming How Healthcare Data Is Utilized

How does the expanded platform transform the way healthcare data is utilized across different therapeutic areas? Newton pointed out:

The xCures Platform can be implemented by many other companies, providers and research organizations directly into their workflows to simply and efficiently incorporate patient data. This transforms the value of US healthcare data by harnessing real-time, regulatory-grade data to improve care, drive innovation and accelerate the development of new treatments. The platform aggregates, organizes and structures comprehensive, fully-longitudinal, patient-level data for any patient in the United States. The data is acquired in real-time and is suitable for clinical, research, and regulatory purposes.”

Capturing RWD And Converting It To RRC

What is the significance of capturing Real World Data (RWD) and converting it into Real-time, Regulatory-grade, Clinical data (RRC) in the context of various diseases? Newton emphasized:

“RWD has been rapidly emerging as an essential field of research as it offers insights that go far beyond the questions that are answered in formal clinical trials. Research and care happen on different timelines. Research can take months or years to complete and validate.”

“Care happens at the next encounter. By having a platform that meets both the criteria of research and care, RRC delivers the same high-quality information to consistently make rapid improvements to care and operations while leveraging the data to power complex research questions.”

Glioblastoma Multiforme Case Study

Could you share more about the case study involving Glioblastoma Multiforme patients and how the platform helped in identifying treatment regimens that impact patient quality of life? Newton shared:

“We have extensively worked in brain cancers, including GBM and pediatric gliomas. By both prospectively and retrospectively analyzing the data to guide both patient care and research, we have been able to identify a number of hypotheses that we are further validating in real time to determine both how to optimize and personalize treatments in these deadly diseases. We do this partnership with patient advocacy organizations, foundations, and biopharmaceutical companies.”

Accelerating Research And Clinical Trials

 Could you share insights on how the expanded platform can accelerate research and clinical trials across various diseases? Newton replied:

The xCures Platform empowers researchers and healthcare professionals to deeply understand each patient’s unique medical journey, facilitating highly precise and actionable clinical interactions. This system significantly streamlines the identification process for patients who meet the strict criteria for inclusion and exclusion, thus simplifying one of the most intricate aspects of clinical trial recruitment. Inaccurate screening introduces significant risks and costs.”

“For instance, it’s not rare to discover post-enrollment that a patient was ineligible due to a past event they either forgot or misunderstood due to the complexity of medical terms. Real-World Data (RWD) is crucial for gaining insights into actual patient experiences. Healthcare delivery varies across systems, providers, regions, and is influenced by insurance and financial decisions. Understanding the risks and benefits of medical interventions unlocks tremendous potential for improving both patient outcomes and the efficiency of healthcare delivery.”

Tailored For Different Medical Specialties 

With the inclusion of diverse datasets, including clinical, genomic, and imaging information, how does the platform cater to the specific needs of different medical specialties? Newton told me:

“The xCures Platform is designed to cater to the specific needs of different medical specialties through its comprehensive integration of diverse datasets, including clinical, genomic, and imaging information. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), the platform is able to digitize and structure a wide variety of data formats received from patient medical records. This capability ensures that the platform can accommodate the complex and varied data requirements of different medical specialties.”

“For oncology, the platform’s ability to analyze clinico-genomic characteristics and interpret data with a high degree of inference is particularly valuable. It addresses the unique challenges of cancer treatment, such as understanding the genetic mutations of tumors and the impact of comorbidities and concomitant medications on patient care. The system’s training on a vast dataset of over 150,000 patients, including those with and without cancer, enables it to provide precise and useful information sets tailored to the intricate nature of oncology.”

“Beyond oncology, the platform’s expansion to cover a broad range of conditions and its capability to aggregate records from the entire care team of a patient make it suitable for other medical specialties as well. The inclusion of special nomenclature and unique medical concepts for diseases beyond cancer facilitates its application in areas such as cardiology, neurology, and more. This adaptability allows healthcare providers from various specialties to leverage the platform for informed decision-making and personalized patient care.”

“Moreover, the real-time, regulatory-grade data (RRC) generated by the platform from Real World Data (RWD) is applicable across various therapeutic areas, enhancing research, clinical trials, and patient care. By providing a fully-longitudinal, patient-level database that is suitable for clinical, research, and regulatory purposes, xCures transforms how healthcare data is utilized, making it a valuable tool for a wide range of medical specialties seeking to improve outcomes and innovate treatments.”

Privacy/Security Of Patient Data 

How does xCures ensure the privacy and security of patient data, especially considering the platform now encompasses a broader range of medical conditions? Newton responded:

“xCures prioritizes patient data privacy and security by adhering to healthcare regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other local data protection laws, which dictate strict guidelines for handling and protecting patient information. The platform employs robust encryption for data both at rest and in transit, implements strict access controls and authentication mechanisms, including multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls, and uses data anonymization and de-identification techniques to protect patient privacy further.”

“In addition to these measures, xCures conducts regular security assessments and vulnerability testing to identify and mitigate potential threats, adheres to data minimization principles, and enforces strict data retention policies. The platform also emphasizes obtaining informed consent from patients, ensuring they are fully aware of how their data is used, thereby maintaining transparency and trust in its data handling practices.”

Challenges Faced 

What are some key challenges you faced in scaling the platform from focusing solely on cancer to encompassing all therapeutic areas? Newton acknowledged:

“The expansion of xCures’ platform to encompass all therapeutic areas introduces the challenge of managing the increased complexity of diseases beyond oncology. Adapting to unique medical terminologies, disease processes, and treatment protocols requires significant advancements in the platform’s natural language processing and machine learning capabilities to accurately process and interpret diverse data sets. This expansion also necessitates the integration of a wide range of data types, including genomic information, imaging files, and electronic health records from various medical specialties, calling for sophisticated algorithms and data processing technologies to handle the information accurately and efficiently.”

“Maintaining the clinical relevance and accuracy of the platform’s outputs across different therapeutic areas becomes a crucial focus. This necessitates continuously updating the platform’s knowledge base. Additionally, customizing the user interface to cater to the specific needs and workflows of professionals across various specialties, while keeping the platform intuitive and user-friendly, is essential for fostering widespread adoption and maximizing the platform’s impact on patient care and research.”

Integrating With Existing Healthcare Workflow Management Systems

How does xCures’ platform integrate with existing healthcare workflow management systems, and what has been the feedback from early adopters? Newton stated:

“xCures’ platform integrates seamlessly with healthcare systems, emphasizing support for research services and payment functionalities. It employs advanced APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to ensure smooth data exchange and collaboration with research databases, clinical trial management systems, and payment processing tools. This integration is designed to enhance the research capabilities of healthcare providers by facilitating easy access to clinical trial data, patient recruitment opportunities, and real-time research analytics. Additionally, the platform streamlines payment processes, allowing for efficient billing and reimbursement workflows that are integral to healthcare operations.”

“Early feedback from users who have adopted xCures’ platform underscores its effectiveness in simplifying complex research tasks and financial transactions. The platform has been praised for its ability to enhance research productivity by automating the identification of eligible study participants and integrating patient data with ongoing trials, thereby accelerating the pace of medical research.”

“On the financial side, users appreciate the platform’s contribution to reducing administrative burdens and improving the accuracy of billing processes. Despite the initial challenges of integrating new technologies into existing systems, the overall response highlights the platform’s potential to significantly impact the efficiency of healthcare services by supporting essential research and financial operations.”

Future Company Goals

Looking towards the future, what further developments or goals does xCures have in store for enhancing the use of AI in healthcare data analysis? Newton concluded:

“As a technology platform provider, our strategy is centered on developing sophisticated tools that empower other companies to achieve groundbreaking objectives in the realm of healthcare data analysis. We are committed to advancing the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning algorithms, and natural language processing (NLP) to enhance the precision and depth of insights extracted from unstructured medical data. Our goal is to enable our partners to offer more personalized and precise patient care through our state-of-the-art analytical tools.”

“Looking forward, we aim to equip our partners with predictive analytics and decision support systems that leverage vast datasets to forecast disease progression and optimize treatment pathways. This initiative is designed to not only improve patient outcomes but also to streamline the decision-making process for healthcare providers, making it faster and more informed. We are also focused on enhancing the interoperability of our platform, facilitating seamless integration with a wide range of healthcare systems and fostering a collaborative data ecosystem that includes research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare providers.”

“Innovation in real-time data analysis is another pillar of our strategy, ensuring that our tools can deliver timely insights critical for urgent healthcare decisions. Moreover, we are acutely aware of the importance of data privacy and security in our advancements. As we develop these AI-driven tools, we prioritize the protection of patient information, adhering to the highest standards of data security and regulatory compliance. By providing these cutting-edge tools and resources, we aim to empower other companies to transform healthcare data analysis, driving innovation and improving outcomes across the healthcare sector.”