12 insights from great minds in digital health

On Wednesday, we wrapped up our fifth Rock Health Summit (fka “Health Innovation Summit”) and continued the tradition of bringing together digital health leaders unafraid to speak their minds. The Summit has always been a venue for radical new ideas for healthcare—from Vinod Khosla proclaiming, “80% of doctors can be replaced by software. I’d much rather have a good machine learning system diagnose my disease than the median or average doctor,” to John Sculley declaring, “The healthcare industry missed the PC revolution, it missed the internet revolution, and it can’t afford to miss the mobility and cloud revolution.”

This year was no different. Over the course of two days, founders, VCs, and larger-than-life scientists took the stage and left us with some unforgettable words of wisdom. Weren’t able to make it to the Summit (or simply want to re-live the experience)? No worries—we took notes. Here are 12 sound bytes that caught the attention of over 700 attendees and got everyone talking:

  • “Every board meeting starts with how many lives are saved. Making billions of dollars will follow.”
    Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder & Managing Partner, The Social+Capital Partnership
  • “If we all opened up Facebook, we wouldn’t be looking at the same thing. That personalization doesn’t exist in health.”
  • David Ebersman, Co-founder & CEO, Lyra Health

  • “In other industries you can have a soft fail. In healthcare that’s not an option.”
    Susannah Fox, CTO, Health and Human Services
  • “ ‘De-identified’ genomic data is kind of a myth because DNA gives you your identity.”
    J. Craig Venter, Co-founder & CEO, Human Longevity Inc.
  • “We use tech to make the human part even better. We can’t come out as a tech company. We are a human company.”
    Sandy Jen, Co-founder, Honor
  • “If we have a constitutional law professor [President Obama] who is tech-minded, we can do it for healthcare.”
    DJ Patil, Chief Data Scientist, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • “Do your homework. We did six months of reading before starting Collective Health.”
    Ali Diab, Co-founder & CEO, Collective Health
  • “Augmented reality could be the next platform five or ten years out.”
    Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Gazzaley Cognitive Neuroscience Lab UCSF
  • On mobile health: “The basic iPhone has more power than NASA had to put people on the moon.”
    Mary Spio, Founder and President, Next Galaxy
  • On healthcare businesses: “It’s like shoveling coal into a train instead of building the rocket to mars that may explode along the way. You really have to build value. Our rate of success for companies building value have been higher than on the tech side.”
    Ann Lamont, Managing Partner, Oak HC/FT & Oak Investment Partners
  • “A technology is not radical or revolutionary unless it benefits all Americans.”
    DJ Patil, Chief Data Scientist, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
  • “Figuring out reimbursement and getting paid is a bigger problem for digital health companies—not working with the FDA.”
    Leslie Bottorff, Managing Director of Healthcare at GE Ventures