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Snowflake brings data cloud to healthcare and life sciences

Snowflake is continuing to build out its industry vertical platform offerings, helping users in different market segments collect, share and analyze data.

Snowflake on Thursday announced the availability of its new Healthcare and Life Sciences Data Cloud, providing an industry-specific set of capabilities for data collaboration and analytics.

Snowflake has been building out its data cloud platform in recent years with industry-specific vertical offerings, including one for financial services announced in September. The Healthcare and Life Sciences Data Cloud joins an increasingly competitive market, with rival Databricks announcing its healthcare data lakehouse platform March 9.

The new Snowflake Healthcare and Life Sciences Data Cloud provides a data marketplace that enables users to get data from third-party sources. The platform also provides optimizations for data types and formats commonly used in healthcare and life sciences, including unstructured data.

Among Snowflake's healthcare customers is Komodo Health. The company is building out Healthcare Map, a service that provides insights into the state of healthcare in the U.S. According to Laurent Bride, CTO of Komodo Health, Snowflake plays an essential role in powering Healthcare Map. Bride explained that Healthcare Map is central to Komodo Health's business, serving as the foundation for its software applications and data platform that helps to power the algorithms data scientists and analysts create to derive insights.

"On a daily basis, we ingest billions of data points into Snowflake and have hundreds of users and applications querying our data sets," Bride said. "Snowflake enables us to scale rapidly."

Snowflake builds out vertical data cloud platform

Todd Crosslin, healthcare and life sciences industry principal at Snowflake, explained that the new service is contextually similar to the Financial Data Cloud that his company launched in 2021. The basic idea is to have specific support for the needs of a given industry vertical.

For example, he noted that having support for unstructured data is important in multiple industry verticals. What's different, though, is what source the unstructured data is coming from for each industry. Crosslin said that in healthcare, a primary source of unstructured data come from clinical notes as well as DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) radiology files.

On a daily basis, we ingest billions of data points into Snowflake and have hundreds of users and applications querying our data sets.
Laurent BrideCTO, Komodo Health

With the industry-focused platforms, Snowflake is also pulling in partners that help to provide additional capabilities, including third-party data sets for healthcare data. In the healthcare industry, launch partners for the data cloud platform include healthcare insights providers IQVIA, SameSky Health and PrecisionXtract.

Healthcare data cloud and data lake

The overall Snowflake data cloud platform supports data lakes, which can also be used for healthcare data. Crosslin said that data from a data lake can be ingested into Snowflake directly or accessed as an external table.

"We look at data lake as a workload for Snowflake," Crosslin said.

Looking forward, Crosslin said that the ability for people in healthcare and life sciences to communicate with each other and share data in an analytical way will continue to improve with the Snowflake data cloud. In particular, he noted that Snowflake will look to help support data efforts around healthcare clinical trials.

"What are you going to see from Snowflake is some really interesting things happening around clinical trials and how Snowflake plays a role in that," Crosslin said.

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