Houston Health IT Startups Part of Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative

Houston—Two Houston health IT startups are among the private companies enlisted by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in his national cancer moonshot initiative, designed to speed up efforts that could cure cancer.

DocGraph and CareSet Systems, both based in Houston, are developing a cancer dataset that would contain summarized information on nearly a million Medicare cancer patients and more than 10 million specific patient claims. The idea, the companies say, is to provide the most accurate picture of how cancer is treated by the government-funded health plan.

Use of this data will be open to anyone, including scientists, oncologists, and digital health entrepreneurs. “We’re interested in exploring important differences in the experience of cancer patients based on factors such as treatment pathway, geography, and types of physicians and providers,” DocGraph CEO Fred Trotter said in a press release.

The vice president held a daylong summit Wednesday in Washington where he announced a series of partnerships with the government, industry, and academia to support the White House’s proposed $1 billion “cancer moonshot” program. More than 270 events took place around the country simultaneously, including one at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and another at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

DocGraph plans to release its dataset in the fourth quarter this year, after which CareSet Systems plans to use the data to try to address specific cancer-treatment problems for those in healthcare to derive insights from this data.

The effort “will illustrate how Medicare patients travel through the health care system in the years before and immediately after their cancer diagnoses, including data about their treatment providers, procedures, medications and survival,” said CareSet CEO Laura Shapland in the release.

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