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Countdown to Big Data in Precision Health: Venture capital in health care

Lisa Suennen of GE Ventures speaks about big data and digital innovations in the month leading up to her talk at Stanford's Big Data conference.

Venture capital leaders, who help shape health-focused digital technologies, have a growing role in the future of health care. At the heart of this development is Lisa Suennen, senior managing director of healthcare investing at GE Ventures.

Suennen is slated to speak at the Big Data in Precision Health Conference, which will be held on campus May 23 and 24.

Recently, I corresponded with Suennen about her work at GE, her philosophy about the intersection of health care and big data and how she predicts health care will change as it's ushered into a digital-first age.

How is your role at GE Ventures informed by big data?

GE Ventures is the venture capital arm of GE. Our job is to look out into the future and think about products, technologies and services that will be strategically valuable to GE, one way or another, over the next three-to-five year horizon. Many of our investments focus on the use of data and analytics to improve health care process and outcome on both the clinical and operational fronts.

How do you think big data can be employed to improve health care?

There are numerous places that data and analytics can make a potentially material difference in health care. In pharma, we can speed up discovery of new useful drugs and dramatically improve the clinical trial process, as well as incorporate real world evidence. We can also make the delivery of medicines far more targeted and personal.

We can use data analytics and AI to improve the delivery of clinical services, both predicting major medical adverse events and acting to prevent them before they result in patient harm and high cost. Fundamentally the availability of data and the right means of both analyzing it and effectively incorporating it into the workflows of health care will bring us closer to the goal of precision health on all fronts.

What are you planning to discuss at the conference, and what do you hope the audience takes away from your talk?

I am planning to discuss the intersection of data and digital health.

There are so many areas where convergence is happening between different parts of health care, accelerated by data analytics, and I plan to discuss some examples of where this is going well.

I hope that the audience finds value in understanding where the intersection of data and digital health is making a valuable difference and comes away with a better appreciations for what it takes for that to happen. There is a lot of noise in the digital health world and it's important to understand what has meaning and what's just background music.

Photo courtesy of TeroVesalainen

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