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Future of Diagnostics: The Convergence of Data, Tech and Therapeutics

GE Ventures former CEO Sue Siegel and Section 32 Managing Partner Mike Pellini discuss the four aspects of health care coming together to advance diagnostics in ways never before possible.

Key Takeaways: Diagnostics in health care have historically fallen short compared to other sectors in terms of both spending and research. However, increased demands regarding personalized medicine, predictive measures and early identification of disease are pushing the industry to enable new breakthroughs in diagnostic science.

By Michaela Katz

Today, there is a huge disconnect between diagnostic spending and the health care industry’s reliance on the tools and findings. At the same time it’s becoming increasingly clear that diagnostics will only become more important, if not strategic, in the massive shift toward value-based care.

“Two percent of the spend goes toward diagnostics — and it fuels 70% of the spend on the decisions made from it,” said Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures and Chief Innovation Officer of GE in an interview at the Health Evolution Summit.

This balance clearly doesn’t make sense but, fortunately, things are beginning to change.

“Diagnostics used to be about the today, and diagnosing disease, and now we’re moving into a world where it’s all about potentially diagnosing something…where there might be no action ability, or prediction. And there’s power to that,” Siegel noted.

What’s driving this opportunity to make diagnostics a more valuable part of the equation?

“There’s an emergence of data, the utilization of data, the mining of data in a way that we’ve never really been able to do until this point in time,” said Mike Pellini, MD, Managing Partner of Section 32 and Chairman of Foundation Medicine in the same interview.

Data is just one piece of the equation. Another is the emerging technology that enables new capabilities every day and not just for diagnostics or health care but for every industry.

“We have data, we have technology, we have diagnostics and we have therapeutics, and all four of these pieces are coming together in a way that we’ve never seen in our lifetimes or, frankly, anyone’s lifetimes,” continued Pellini.

It is clear that acknowledging the value of and increasing investment into diagnostics will have a large impact. This increased emphasis will allow for the application of predictive analytics, will decrease spending for unnecessary treatments and lead to earlier and better treatments of serious and life-threatening diseases.

Beyond its impact in the clinical setting, diagnostics will have far-reaching effects in areas key to the changing health care ecosystem.

“Diagnostics drives personalized medicine,” Pellini said. “Diagnostics are the linchpin to success in personalized medicine. Diagnostics are the linchpin to even value-based care.”

Siegel emphasized the importance of the potential role of diagnostics in achieving value-based care, “With the change into fee for value and what’s happening in the health care system, diagnostics has to play a role that is much more powerful than it’s had a chance to play in the past.”

Watch more episodes of the Health Evolution Interview Series. The next Health Evolution Summit is scheduled for April 1-3, 2020 in Laguna Niguel, California.  

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Sue Siegel

Former Chief Innovation Officer & CEO,
GE Ventures GE

Sue Siegel is GE’s Former Chief Innovation Officer and CEO of GE Ventures, leading the development and acceleration of innovation across GE. She has 35+ years of corporate, entrepreneurial and venture capital experience all geared towards turning untapped potential into real value. In this role, Sue led the launch of GE Ventures, a multimodal in Full bio ›

Mike Pellini, MD

Managing Partner, Section 32
Chairman, Foundation Medicine

Dr. Pellini is Managing Partner of Section 32, a venture fund that invests in companies and inventors that are changing the way humans use technology and the way technology betters humanity. Previously, he served as CEO of Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ:FMI) from May 2011 until he transitioned to Chairman in February 2017 through the close of Roche's (NASDAQ:RHHBY) acquisition of FMI in August 2018. He currently serves as a Full bio ›

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