Revolutionizing Cancer Care: Predictive Analytics and Personalized Medicine

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare

Kathy Ford, Chief Product and Strategy Officer of Ronin, joined host Eric Thrailkill to discuss the company’s mission to revolutionize cancer care through predictive analytics and personalized medicine. By leveraging AI, machine learning, and data from multiple sources, Ronin aims to provide clinicians with real-time insights at the point of care, enabling them to make better informed decisions and support patients throughout their cancer journey.

One of Ronin’s first key offerings is predicting a cancer patients’ risk of presenting to the emergency department. “It’s most ideal to avoid the ED if you do not need to be there,” Kathy said, “especially if you have a compromised system.”

As Kathy shared, Ronin is successfully predicting and providing insight to clinicians while also engaging with patients in an asynchronous manner to manage their care more effectively.

Ronin is a Silicon Valley company co-founded by Larry Ellison of Oracle. Kathy, with over three decades of experience herself in healthcare, joined in 2021.

“Let’s tackle the hardest and most complex disease type there is, which is cancer. That was really the beginning of Ronin,” she said. “It was well understood that this is one of the hardest problems to solve.”

Kathy explained some of the difficulty there is the expense and complexity of bringing together varied data sets, often in different formats and locations, siloed off from each other. “There’s plenty of data in healthcare, it’s just all over the place. It’s unclean, unstructured, and hard to get to.”

And while there have been some analytic type solutions that can help predict risk for ED admissions, many do so retrospectively.

“So what we’re doing is serving up at the point of care within the Ronin application at the time that the clinician is in the patient’s chart,” she explained. “So fully integrated, embedded into that chart.”

Ronin’s platform not only predicts risk but also facilitates communication between clinicians and patients, allowing clinicians to address patients’ concerns, manage expectations, and provide personalized care remotely.

“In cancer care, unlike some other disease management approaches, you often don’t see a patient for 8 to 12 to 16 weeks as a clinician,” Kathy explained. “A lot of things can happen or not happen, or patients can basically drop out of their care.” 

Oftentimes patients’ only way to communicate with their care team is through an online portal which, as Kathy stated, may funnel to other channels and go unanswered. By enabling patient-clinician communication, right at the point of care, Ronin hopes to keep patients engaged in their own care.

Ronin also works by providing clinicians comprehensive insights and visualizations, empowering them to make data-driven decisions and deliver personalized care. Using complex machine learning algorithms, accessing hundreds of unique data elements, it’s as if clinicians now have access to their own data science team.

The results are organized in such a way, Kathy explained, “that a clinician is triaging in their own large, language model in their head.” 

Looking ahead to 2024, Ronin plans to expand its prediction suite and extend its offerings. “We will be working very closely with the Oracle Health organizations,” she said. “We have a lot of synergies between what Ronin is delivering and the solution sets that Oracle Health broadly has to bring to market. And so we’re very excited to be working on some partnership opportunities there.”

Ronin is also working on developing more risk models, including predicting toxicity, and ultimately aims to provide tools for clinicians to simulate treatment outcomes and personalize care based on patient preferences and goals. “There are lots of other chronic diseases and areas of care that need these tools.”

“We will absolutely extend outside of oncology as well. It’s always been the intention,” she said. “We just chose really the most complex disease of all to start with.” 

By providing clinicians with real-time insights and empowering them to make personalized treatment decisions, Ronin is at the forefront of transforming cancer care and driving the shift towards precision medicine.

About Kathy Ford: Kathy Dalton Ford serves as the Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Ronin, which collects, correlates, and contextualizes data to support efficient, confident cancer treatment decisions at the point of care. Previously, Ms. Ford was the President and Chief Product officer at Rhinogram, a leading cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant virtual care platform. In this role, she was instrumental in driving the company’s exponential growth over her three-plus years there. Before Rhinogram, Ms. Ford co-founded Jellyfish Health, a first-of-its-kind disruptive patient flow logistics solution that dramatically improves clinical operational efficiency.  Earlier in her career, she oversaw executive-level portfolios, guided merger and acquisition activities, and led product efforts at GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical, McKesson, and NantHealth. 

A member of the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, Ms. Ford’s reputation, commitment, and passion for improving the quality of care and patient outcomes is the reason the healthcare industry recognizes her as a pioneer in healthcare with features in leading industry publications such as Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2023 “Women in Health IT to Know” and in previous years of 2019 and 2022.

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