A group of investors, entrepreneurs and precision health researchers gathered in San Francisco this week for a day of sharing, charged discussion and live demos. Linda Molnar, co-chair of the summit opened by offering historical context of milestones illustrating how the healthcare industry has reached the point it has today.
"Molecular testing has seen a 20% growth in spending whereas total lab spend is growing at 7%, underscoring the pace of research and discovery today."
Linda Molnar, Co-Chair Technology for Precision Health Summit
The Technology for Precision Health Summit is a group of people who understand the power of personal and data which can show the lives of the future with regards to healthcare. However, the fact is that to learn that you are at high risk to get X,Y or Z cancer is truly terrifying. Many choose not to find out the strategy to best overcome this. Even armed with the data, there's not always correlations taken for prevention.
"Introducing a cell phone to a landline world. Right now we’re working on client education. This is a revolution, not an evolution. It’s a jungle, it’s the wild west. How’re you going to get there? We’ll help you. This is about a joined partnership journey. What works is treating patients like people.”
Assaf Halevy, 2bPrecise
Bridging Data Silos
As we've discussed in numerous articles recently (See here) big data was once covered extensively. Discussions were primarily focused around the back-end infrastructure that makes everything we and feel work which at this stage, is definitely the priority. The right data needs to end up in the right field without being miss-labelled or misunderstood. However, the data currently is moving in various different directions, lacking fluidity and far too inefficient for any reasonable business model.
Supporting Patients by Supporting Physicians
While it's no longer enough to get all the data to every place at the same time, it is counterproductive to care to be overwhelming physicians with data. It was argued that without the ability to make use of the meaning, sharing data is essentially useless. The resounding consensus was that there is a great demand for A.I and machine learning to make sense of this data to make the best use of it. Physicians (usually with a minimum of 25 patients per day) are not capable of doing this analysis themselves.
“As diseases stratify with more genomic information, it will be increasingly impossible for oncologists to be at the top of their game without these tools.”
Andrew Norden, Cota
It should be noted that technology is not meant to replace the human connection though, rather complementing it instead. The summit even got into physicians facetiming. The hope that technologies will evolve such as to free the physician from being tethered to inefficiencies that are largely outdated technologically. There was a mutual nod amongst physicians on stage that analog interactions are often when a physician gathers stories and information otherwise not captured in a formal questionnaire.
What the Investors are saying!
“Pretty much all of my investments are in first time CEOs, which is not particularly what the venture capital playbook tells you to go do. But I find those people to be very hungry and largely underappreciated by the rest of the world. They’re also very willing to bash their head against a brick wall with me for a while, in order to try to succeed at something that is hard to do.”
Bryan Roberts, Venrock on what he looks for in an investment.
“There are so “many tech people who want to work their way into health care venture capital. When I started in health care venture in 1998 you couldn’t give it away. I wonder how long it will be before the cycle ends?”
Lisa Suennen, GE Ventures on what surprises her about the industry right now.