The University of Southampton

Big Data for Medical Analytics - Big Medilytics

Data Science / Big Data, Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning

Researchers from across Europe will use big data to investigate population health prediction and management in this three years funded project. Big Data for Medical Analytics, or BigMedilytics, will channel funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to improve practices of life-saving care across the European continent. The University of Southampton will lead the UK pilot, alongside a range of academic and industrial partners in a part of the study that will improve the care of patients living with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). Specific persistent weather conditions and atmospheric pollution could be significant to the triggering of severe COPD and asthma exacerbation events in patients on regional and national scales. Therefore, we aim at developing robust and highly performing predictors for these exacerbation events using advanced big data analytics. This will be a breakthrough once achieved as we strongly believe that the prediction of these events at patient level will revolutionise care and contribute in the emerging 21st century concept of personalised medicine. The delivery of exacerbation event alerts with specific patient’s context information to clinicians, community nursing teams and pharmaceutical companies will save lives and reduce the cost of care across hospitals in the UK.

The particular challenge in the COPD and ASTHMA UK pilot in Big Medilytics is an outstanding big data problem, since it firstly requires automatic access to large volumes of data from heterogeneous data sources such as weather, atmospheric pollution, patients primary and secondary care data together with contextual information on patients’ lifestyles. Once acquired this big data needs to be intelligently mined, aggregated and organised for investigation while we develop deep machine learning algorithms to understand and detect the triggering agents of COPD or asthma exacerbation events in individual patients. The BigMedilytics project is a collaboration between the IT Innovation Centre, ECS and UK partners My mHealth and AstraZeneca UK together with NHS partners. AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business while My mHealth is a leading digital health SME that is currently the only endorsed app provider to the NHS. BigMedilytics will officially start in January 2018 and has a grant value of 600,000 euros for the University of Southampton. BigMedilytics is part of a larger partnership in Europe that includes Philips Electronics Research, the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Valencia General Hospital Foundation for Clinical Research in Spain, Vienna University of Medicine in Austria.

Primary investigator


  • Phillips Research (Netherlands)
  • MyMHealth limited (UK)
  • Astra Zeneca UK

Associated research group

  • IT Innovation Centre
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