Medicine and pediatrics are changing and health care is moving from being reactive to becoming preventive. Despite rapid developments of new technologies for molecular profiling and systems analysis of diseases, significant hurdles remain. Here, we use the clinical setting of congenital heart block (CHB) to uncover and illustrate key informatics challenges impeding the development of a systems medicine approach emphasizing the prevention and prediction of disease. We find that there is a paucity of useful bioinformatics tools enabling the integrative analysis of different databases of molecular information and clinical sources in a disease context such as CHB, contrasting with the current emphasis on developing bioinformatics tools for the analysis of individual data types. Moreover, informatics solutions for managing data, such as the Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) or Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment, require serious software engineering support for the maintenance and import of data beyond the capabilities of clinicians working with CHB. Hence, there is an urgent unmet need for user-friendly tools facilitating the integrative analysis and management of omics data and clinical information. Pediatrics represents an untapped potential to execute such a systems medicine program in close collaboration with clinicians and families who are keen to do what is needed for their children to prevent and predict diseases and nurture wellness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health