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The Data Bet

New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center is crunching the numbers on the patients that pass through its wards in an effort to cut healthcare costs, writes Courtney Humphries at MIT's Technology Review.

To do so, they've brought in Jeff Hammerbacher, who was Facebook’s first data scientist. Hammerbacher is sorting through patient data, like disease information, number of hospital visits, race, and more. A pilot study at Mount Sinai, Humphries notes, developed a model that could predict which patients were more likely to be readmitted, and based on that risk score, hospital workers focused a little extra effort on those patients, bringing down readmissions and costs.

Hammerbacher may also incorporate DNA data from hospital-based infections or machine data from patients using monitors at home. Mount Sinai has also amassed a biobank with 26,735 patient DNA and plasma samples.

Mount Sinai is making a "monstrously large bet that [data] is going to matter," Eric Schadt, who runs the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology there, tells Tech Review.