Many companies are squeezing every last algorithmic drop out of big data to help them make more informed decisions, accessing and analyzing voluminous flows of structured and unstructured market data to guide the optimal allocation of resources. This same promise now beckons for medical research.
Sadly, many health care institutions are lagging in this regard, although many are trying to change the status quo. The same is true of the health care industry as a whole, which has yet to establish clear standards for sharing patient electronic medical records for research purposes. As Dr. Clifford Hudis, current president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City says, “Medicine is astonishingly archaic functionally.”
Hudis, who is also a professor of medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, notes that while medical science has advanced in the laboratory at a pace comparable to businesses using computers, medical interactions with patients — often still done by putting pen to paper — remains rooted in 19th century practices.