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The coming data quake: Two tech pioneers will share their vision at Summit 2019

Elizabeth Gardner | April 2, 2019

Key Takeaway: The health care industry is already buried in a mountain of data: electronic health records, medical images, e-prescriptions, discharge and billing databases, and the output from gadgets ranging from pacemakers to Fitbits. The genome, proteome and microbiome will make the mountain exponentially larger. How do we turn this data into actionable insight?

Two of the biggest names in technology will take the main stage at Health Evolution Summit 2019 to address “Tremors from the Coming Data Quake,” discussing their respective visions for how to handle the accumulation of medical and health information made possible by electronic health records, the Internet, and the many machines and devices that collect data as part of their daily mission of safeguarding our health and treating our illnesses.

John Doerr, chairman of venture investing firm Kleiner Perkins, Menlo Park, Calif., was a founding investor in both Amazon and Google, as well as hundreds of other companies, and has been a key player in the development of almost every aspect of the commercial Internet. The firm’s numerous health care investments run the gamut from Livongo, which helps chronic disease patients more effectively and affordably manage conditions like diabetes and heart disease, to Medicare HMO Essence Healthcare, and Tmunity Therapeutics, a biopharma company developing CAR-T-based cancer treatments. Doerr has invested his own money in health data analytics software firm Nuna, which has been partnering with Medicaid to improve care for its patients using data. The company’s mission is to “overcome core obstacles in healthcare—fragmented data, inefficient processes, misaligned incentives, and inconsistent cost and quality information.”

Battling fragmented data is one of Doerr’s interests as well. He told Forbes in November, “If we can get [electronic health record companies]…to liberate their data, open it up and have flexible payment models, I think the entrepreneurs and innovators can take care of almost all the rest.”

Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and its parent company Alphabet, is equally enthusiastic about the transformative potential of health data. He served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, overseeing the company’s technical and business strategy while it grew to dominate search and spin off a multitude of other services. One of them was Google Health, an early attempt to aggregate personal health data. He served as chairman of Google from 2011 to 2015, becoming chairman of Alphabet when it was formed in 2015.

Speaking to an industry gathering in March 2018, Schmidt laid out a vision of a future where a combination of cloud storage, advanced analytics and an enormous pile of diverse data is just waiting for the killer app to put it all to work. He described a (so far) theoretical technology that he called Dr. Liz — a voice assistant in patient rooms that can interact with patients, make evidence-based recommendations to doctors, and handle all the administrative burden of working in an EHR system. “Everything I just described is buildable today or in the next few years,” Schmidt added. “All it takes is for all of us to figure out how.”

The portfolio of Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund CapitalG includes several health care companies. Practo has developed a family of practice management applications and Care.com provides services to help families find, manage and pay for care.

The two will share their insights on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 4:30.

About the Author

Elizabeth Gardner, Staff Writer