The American Society of Clinical Oncology is working on an expansive new database that will serve up “second opinions times multiples,” according to published reports this week.
The CancerLinQ network will monitor and analyze data on hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in real time.
Cancer doctors would be able to consult the database, much like doing a Google search. They would get advice on treatment strategies that might work for their patients based on how similar patients fared in practices around the U.S.
As the Wall Street Journal concisely put it, this is the latest example of “emerging efforts in medicine to harness the power of ‘Big Data’ to improve care.”
Although 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer annually, treatment details in 95% of these cases are “locked up in medical records and file drawers or in electronic systems not connected to each other,” explains Allen Lichter, Chief Executive Officer of ASCO.
“There is a treasure trove of information inside those cases if we simply bring them together,” Lichter says.
ASCO says the first components of the project will be introduced for use by doctors within the next 12 to 18 months.