Cardiovascular Informatics: building a bridge to data harmony
The search for new strategies for better understanding cardiovascular disease is a constant one, spanning multitudinous types of observations and studies. A comprehensive characterization of each disease state and its biomolecular underpinnings relies upon insights gleaned from extensive information collection of various types of data. Researchers and clinicians in cardiovascular biomedicine repeatedly face questions regarding which types of data may best answer their questions, how to
... information from multiple datasets of various types, and how to adapt emerging advances in machine learning and/or artificial intelligence to their needs in data processing. Frequently lauded as a field with great practical and translational potential, the interface between biomedical informatics and cardiovascular medicine is challenged with staggeringly massive datasets. Successful application of computational approaches to decode these complex and gigantic amounts of information becomes an essential step toward realizing the desired benefits. In this review, we examine recent efforts to adapt informatics strategies to cardiovascular biomedical research: automated information extraction and unification of multifaceted -omics data. We discuss how and why this interdisciplinary space of Cardiovascular Informatics is particularly relevant to and supportive of current experimental and clinical research. We describe in detail how open data sources and methods can drive discovery while demanding few initial resources, an advantage afforded by widespread availability of cloud computing-driven platforms. Subsequently, we provide examples of how interoperable computational systems facilitate exploration of data from multiple sources, including both consistently-formatted structured data and unstructured data. Taken together, these approaches for achieving data harmony enable molecular phenotyping of cardiovascular (CV) diseases and unification of cardiovascular knowledge.