At CloudBeat, the healthcare panel kicked off with a harrowing statistic. The vast majority of breast cancer sufferers will not benefit from chemotherapy. And yet, most patients today receive this highly invasive treatment.

According to genetics expert Ken Stineman, over 80 percent of patients are treated with chemo so we can “catch that four percent.” Stineman, the senior director of enterprise architecture and security at Genomic Health, believes that we can do better.

Genomic Health offers diagnostic services to cancer patients. The company pulls in health information so patients can be treated based on their genetic make-up and we can take the guesswork out of medicine. Companies in this space, often referred to as “personalized medicine,” have spawned in recent years to take advantage of the plummeting cost of sequencing human DNA.

“We are generating terabytes of data about the human genome,” said Stineman. Read more here about how genomics entrepreneurs are building technologies to help you live longer. 

At CloudBeat, the Silicon Valley cloud conference that emphasizes real customer case-studies, Stineman revealed his concerns about whether cloud technology companies could be trusted with our sensitive genetic information. Chaos would ensue if this data gets into the wrong hands. Stineman’s ongoing concern: “How can we protect your genes and mitigate those risks?”

He revealed to Cloud of Data’s Paul Miller, a CloudBeat moderator, that there has been rapid progress in recent years. One year ago, most cloud companies had negligible experience dealing with sensitive health information. Stineman and his team chose to work with SAP (they were the first healthcare customer to use the SAP Business ByDesign product). SAP’s team was willing to get educated about compliance and regulatory issues, and engage in a dialogue about how to keep patient information safe.

Stineman would take this relationship between healthcare companies and the cloud one step further — he said that vendors should be liable for security breaches that occur, perhaps in the form of a data loss prevention fee.”If we’re going to trust you, you”ll have to be on the hook for some of that liability and cost,” he said.

Read more about one of the hottest topics at CloudBeat: healthcare and the cloud. 
Photo credit: Michael O’Donnell