Our champions in Silicon Valley, the SV Angels, have their sights set on the next big thing. They call it Health Informatics. And they happen to believe that it’s people like us — like the Avielle Foundation — that will foster the evolution and progress of this field.
David Lee, the managing director of SV Angels was interviewed by TechCrunch last week, and we’re really excited about what he said. He talked a bit about the company’s approach to focusing on megatrends — things like real-time data and online-to-offline consumption — and went on to explain that they’ve added health informatics to their short list. In a nutshell, the aim is to take “big data” and analyze the invisible trends in the massive data sets to see patterns in the seemingly random; to deliver insights into human pathologies such as cancer, heart disease, or even maladies that lead to violent and aggressive behaviors.
As Lee explains:
“[Health Informatics] is a software-first approach to solving problems in human biology, medical research and ultimately, patient care. We think the timing is right for software developers to make an impact in these areas. The ultimate goal is to use software, IT and data science to help diagnose, treat, reduce, and cure disease — at the physical, mental, and emotional levels.”
We couldn’t agree more. We are on the brink of an exciting time. A time when science will intersect with technology to help experts understand how the biology of the human brain impacts illnesses — from things like cancer to violent behaviors.
Lee references the rapid fall in the cost and the rise in efficiency of sequencing a human’s genome. This is no doubt going to provide an invaluable source of data. Other sources of big data are not far behind with the rapid growth of all things “omics”. Proteomics, Metabolomics, and Immunomics are also going to be incredibly enlightening data sources. President Obama’s commitment to fund mapping the human brain is another great stride in providing a valuable data source.
But the availability of “big data” is only the start — by way of analogy, “big data” is like fuel for powering a machine to transform its potential into useful purposes. The machines will be software analytics. Creative, out of the box thinkers are going to be needed to craft these machines and are going to need the vision to determine the purpose of the transformation, the machination. There are a couple other pieces to this puzzle as well: The quality of the data, the fuel, will be critical; A standardized and unified source of the data will be incredibly valuable; Integration of the data and results must be done in an objective and responsible fashion; and finally, understanding how to monetize, and therefore motivate these endeavors will require some ingenuity.
We will get answers and find solutions so that other families don’t have to experience what we have. Working together — and bringing science and technology together — by using tools such as this we will make Health Informatics a megatrend that really and truly makes a difference.
Please take a moment to read the whole article at TechCrunch.