3 Questions for HiSum Speaker Tim O’Reilly

This post is part of an ongoing series profiling speakers for our upcoming Health Innovation Summit.

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of the renowned O’Reilly Media, Inc., a computer book publishing company that is a passionate advocate of leading-edge development and technology, as well as a leading information source for technology communities and innovators. O’Reilly Media, Inc. informs and engages through online services, books, research, and conferences, focusing on the technology trends that will change our future.  Tim is on the board of Safari Books Online and is a partner in O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

What are the biggest opportunities for developers interested in health? How can developers and the tech world dip their toe into health?
The biggest opportunity is what investor Chris Sacca calls “closing the loop” (as in, “What I learned from Google is to only invest in companies that close the loop.”) What I mean by that is that there is an enormous opportunity to improve healthcare by using data to identify what works, and to do more of that, and less of what doesn’t. There’s a good summary of my thinking on this in a recent blog post by Mike Loukides and Jim Stogdill on why we are launching our Strata Rx conference on big data in healthcare.

How is the Maker movement impacting health? Have any cool healthcare
products resulted?
Well, the maker movement is still in its infancy, but I will point out that most hardware inventions are “maker” products. Consider master maker Dean Kamen, famous for inventing the Segway, but long before that made his fortune inventing one of the first drug infusion pumps and a portable dialysis machine. But I imagine you are looking for something more “amateur.” Consider then Jose Gomez-Marquez of MIT, who makes health products for third world markets out of toys….

What types of fields are you most excited about in the digital health and
data revolution?
All of it. What I love to do is to make the connections between things that don’t look connected, like Jeffrey Brenner’s work on “healthcare hotspotting” in Camden New Jersey, the promise of genomics in personalized medicine, Paul Levy’s crusade for process improvement in healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act’s experiments in moving the entire US healthcare system towards paying for outcomes rather than procedures. All of these things are linked by their reliance on data to improve healthcare and together tell a powerful story about what can be accomplished.

Join us and hear more from Tim O’Reilly on his panel Code for Health: How Software is Eating the Healthcare World, with John Mattison, Chief Medical Information Officer of Kaiser Permanente and Jennifer Pahlka, founder and Executive Director of Code for America at Health Innovation Summit August 28th.