Last year, Saria and her team developed an algorithm to serve as the first-ever early-warning system for septic shock, an often-sudden response to infection that can cause organ failure, accounting for more than 200,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Early symptoms are difficult to spot. So Saria’s team examined the records of 16,234 patients at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and identified 27 variables, from urine output to white-blood-cell count. These routine measurements, analyzed together, accurately predicted septic shock 85 percent of the time; in most cases, before the infection had harmed any organs. The idea is that the tool would alert doctors—who can’t continually monitor each patient—when patients cross a certain risk threshold. “What this is really allowing doctors to do is scale themselves up,” Saria says.