Healthcare Analytics Tackle Multiple Challenges

(Image: Sheff/Shutterstock)

(Image: Sheff/Shutterstock)

Finding a cure for cancer ranks among big lofty goals like achieving world peace and ending poverty -- difficult problems because of their complexity and scope. Cancer isn't just one disease. It is many diseases -- breast, lung, prostate, colon, bladder, skin, and more. An estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2016, according to Nearly 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.

While the scope and complexity of cancer seems unlimited, our search for the cure is limited by the capacity of human researchers. So it makes sense that cancer research and treatment would be an area to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. Medical organizations are looking to these technologies to help as society pursues the cure for the many diseases that are cancer.

This week at the the SAS Health Analytics Forum (SAS is the sponsor of this site), analytics professionals will gather to network with their peers and talk about the application of analytics and related techniques to problems such as curing cancer and addressing other healthcare concerns. The event also features a host of sessions, including a keynote address from from prominent oncologist and cancer researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee.

He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. His new book, The Gene: An Intimate History, applies a similar approach to looking at this building-block of life. Most recently, Mukherjee wrote AI versus MD, an article in The New Yorker magazine, which delves into the use of AI for diagnosing medical conditions from strokes to skin cancer, and how this new capability is being received by members of the medical profession.

If you cannot make it in person to this event, you can catch Mukherjee's keynote address and other programming via a virtual edition of this event on May 2 and 3. Among the topics on the agenda are real-world evidence, consumerism, population health, operational efficiency, SAS Viya for healthcare analytics, and more.

The SAS agenda will bring you two days of programming devoted to providing a picture of advanced analytic techniques as they are applied in the healthcare industry.

Other speakers include practitioners from healthcare organizations including Duke University Health System, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Cleveland Clinic, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Dignity Health, and Humana.

You'll hear about the consumerization of healthcare, how to transform data into insights, how to use predictive tools to predict patient flow, and more.

Check back with AllAnalytics for coverage of this event, and register to attend yourself for this free update on analytics and healthcare and life sciences.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

Meet Capella Women in Analytics Scholarship Winners

If you have an aptitude for math and a desire to make the world a better place, you may hear the calling of a career in data analytics. These four scholarship recipients are heeding that call.

Success Secrets of Top Omnichannel Retailers

It's a tough and changing environment for retailers. Yet some are enjoying continued success during turbulent times. We take a closer look at how they do it.

Re: healthcare
  • 5/29/2017 7:52:19 PM

@  T. Sweeney:  Indeed A.I. marketing is akin to those magic health tonics of yesterday that promised everyone the world including regrowing hair on their heads.  

I think it would be more helpful to look at the types of problems A.I. has or is helping to solve already to determine what type of problems it can solve in the future.


Re: healthcare
  • 5/29/2017 6:37:45 PM

Anything that gives us more insight and leverage against cancer and other diseases is great; no reason to doubt AI and machine learning will deliver here.

What I'm pushing back against is the way AI/Ml are being written about these days as magic bullets or savior style technologies, without much substantiation. In the absence of facts, I'd even settle for expert opinions from qualified sources. But what we end up with is some version of "There's lots of potential with AI/ML in industry sector X."

The first time that gets pronounced is fine, the 40th time, not so much.

Re: healthcare
  • 5/29/2017 5:19:00 PM

@ T-Sweeney -  There is a saying that goes something like "The future will neither be as bleak or wonderful as predicted."    It seems to be a default of life that when one problem is solved more will come up.  That also applies to diseases.

 Cancer is very adaptive and a tumor in one patient can be very different than one in another patient and both can react very differently to medication even if it is the same type of cancer.

Also we tend to think of cancer types as related to the body location.  However on a molecular level is where we find the real type.

I suspect that at least in the near future rather than cure cancer we will learn to live with it.

Re: healthcare
  • 5/6/2017 3:52:47 PM

Is the assumption here that since healthcare is an early adopter of AI that other industry sectors will also need AI and be able to derive many of the same breakthroughs and benefits? Seems like we're also assuming, then, that AI is going be a big game-changer for healthcare, which may or may not be true.

Re: healthcare
  • 5/1/2017 2:48:25 PM

I fully agree. This is a space where analytices will have huge impact.

  • 5/1/2017 1:47:32 PM

It's a very important issue. When it comes to healthcare, analytics really could mean the difference between life and death.