This morning, the 2014 Big Data in Biomedicine conference kicked off at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge. The School of Medicine's dean, Lloyd Minor, MD, welcomed the nearly 500 in-person attendees and many more joining via the free live stream of sessions over the course of three days. Minor emphasized collaboration – with conference sponsor Li Ka Shing and between co-hosts Stanford Medicine and the University of Oxford, and within the scientific community – to harness "the vast potential of technology, data and biomedicine to transform human health for the 21st century."
Oxford's Martin Landray, PhD, FCRP, and Stanford University President John Hennessy, PhD, spoke before yielding the floor to keynote speaker Todd Park, chief technology officer of the United States. An enthusiastic Park shared, "No topic excites me more than the incredible power data has to fuel innovation." He referenced the 2010 paper "Where Are the Health Care Entrepreneurs? The Failure of Organizational Innovation in Health Care" to preface comments noting how, over the last few years and with the help of government programs, innovators have begun to increase efficiency, lower costs and improve outcomes in health care.
Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, for example, have helped to innovate care and payment models, Park said, noting a shift of payment away from volume and towards value of care. He said that "democratizing data," evidenced by the Open Data Initiative of 2009 and a May 2013 executive order by President Obama to make open and affordable access to government information the norm, and financial incentives to use electronic health records have contributed to an acceleration of change in the field.
Through the Blue Button Movement, patients have gained access to their own health information online. "This has everything to do with big data," Park said. And while privacy remains the chief concern of some, he noted many are eager to donate their data for research to improve health outcomes for themselves and others.
Park insisted that "there has never been a better time to be a health-care innovator" than the present, offering these departing words: "May the force be with you."
Previously: Big Data in Biomedicine conference kicks off tomorrow, Chief technology officer of the United States to speak at Big Data in Biomedicine conference, Big Data in Biomedicine technical showcase to feature companies’ innovations related to big data and U.S. Chief Technology Officer discusses health-care reform’s effects on innovation
Photo of Lloyd Minor (top) by Saul Bromberger; photo of Todd Park from @cdbustamante