Heart disease kills over 17 million people each year. According to a 1991 study, sudden death accounts for 28% of heart disease deaths for men and 14% for women, about 20% of all heart disease deaths. By reducing these figures in half through early detection, it would save many more than 100,000 lives per year, as Larry Page suggests. Can data mining do this?
Researchers Thenmozhi and Deepika write in 2014,
The healthcare industry gathers enormous amount of heart disease data which are not “mined” to discover hidden information for effective decision making.
They propose several methods for predicting a diagnosis of heart disease, ranging in accuracy from 74% for "K-Mean based on MAFIA" to 99.62% based on a 15 attribute "Decision Tree", and 100% for a 15-attribute "Neural Network".
Based on this preliminary finding, Yes: data mining of medical information could save 100,000 lives per year.
In a 2005 paper in Journal of Healthcare Information, researchers Koh and Tan of Singapore write:
Data mining applications in healthcare can have tremendous potential and usefulness. However, the success of healthcare data mining hinges on the availability of clean healthcare data. In this respect, it is critical that the healthcare industry consider how data can be better captured, stored, prepared, and mined. Possible directions include the standardization of clinical vocabulary and the sharing of data across organizations to enhance the benefits of healthcare data mining applications.
While Larry Page may see a true benefit to releasing medical data for scientific use, it can be easy for people in tech industries, where everything happens in a fully auto-recordable way on computers, to misjudge the effort required to consistently learn facts in medical interactions and to make those facts into data.
It seems clear that opening up medical data for mining will not be as simple as putting a tracker on user clicks-through for search results like spyware was doing in the early 2000's; the effort will need to be organized and sustained, with full participation by medical professionals and indeed the patients---who will need to answer many more questions and tolerate many more standardized forms each time they see the doc.