By Chris Adams
Ari Caroline is used to the questioning looks when he tells people he is chief analytics officer at the world-renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Sloan Kettering, in New York, is in the health care business, and doctors have long controlled the show. But Caroline is helping bring a new mindset – one that recognizes and employs the capabilities of tech companies such as Google and Facebook.
“Just like these companies, Memorial Sloan Kettering is also in the knowledge business,” Caroline told National Press Foundation fellows. Think of the information that comes with treating more than 100,000 patients a year, he said: genomic data, health record data, scans and other images.
“That allows us to actually do some pretty sophisticated data science,” he said. The intent is to bring that knowledge to patients: “We’re looking at this not just as a scientific experiment, but as a way to practice medicine going forward,” he said.
For patients, that is translating into a system designed to match patients with one of more than 1,000 clinical trials underway at Sloan Kettering at any given time. Patients participating in trials have a better shot at positive outcomes than those who are not in trials. And while Sloan Kettering already has 30 percent of its patients in trials, Caroline thinks that could be 50 percent.