My love letter to tech
It’s the start of the new year and many of you are taking the opportunity to consider new positions in the field. College students will be securing summer internships and May graduates are hoping to land their first job. Undoubtedly, many of you will be looking to Silicon Valley and other major tech hubs across the US, like San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Austin, striving for a position at a top company, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Apple. Or perhaps you’re looking beyond the US borders at international giants like China’s AliBaba. While these and other tech companies, including stalwarts like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft, offer tremendous opportunities to begin (or continue) a career in the field, with complex and intellectually stimulating problems to work on, may I suggest expanding your job search to a different industry? One that has only recently begun to truly embrace technology and where the opportunities are nearly limitless and the impact you can have profound?
Healthcare is on the brink of transformational change and I think you’re the right group to help it achieve that change. While healthcare may not have the cache of working at Facebook, Google, or Apple, that’s changing—especially as tech companies expand their footprints beyond social media, computers, and software. Take Apple: their ResearchKit platform is helping developers design apps to collect valuable health data, help patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma, even help medical researchers enroll patients in clinical trials. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the more than $3 trillion healthcare pie.
May I suggest expanding your job search to a different industry? One that has only recently begun to truly embrace technology and where the opportunities are nearly limitless and the impact you can have profound?
Do you want to work on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning? There are a number of players, big and small, established and startups, in the market leveraging these technologies to solve healthcare problems. IBM, the company that only decades ago was still focused on hardware and mainframes, is taking on determining the right cancer treatment for patients with its Watson for Oncology platform—just one of its Watson offerings that use the company’s cognitive computing technology. DeepMind, acquired by Google in 2014, is another, currently being used at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UK) site to research ways to improve eye exams and disease detection. FDNA is using AI to help doctors diagnose children with rare genetic diseases—kids who might not have been easily diagnosed previously—from pictures, with their Face2Gene software.
Want to work on Big Data? Healthcare has it in spades. From claims and billing data to electronic health records, there is no shortage of data to be analyzed and insights to be identified. Newer companies, like CareSkore and Zephyr Health, use predictive analytics and machine learning to glean clinically-relevant insights from massive amounts of patient and clinical data for population health and patient-level care. Hospitals and academic medical centers are building up their technology infrastructure to help them streamline processes and manage growing amounts of data.
Say you’re interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain instead, perhaps considering a career in the tech side of the financial industry? Startups and newer companies, like California-based Gem Health, and Atlanta-based Patientory, are hoping to leverage the technology to improve security and sharing of patient information. Luna DNA is using blockchain to create a better, more secure way of storing and sharing genetic information for research.
Even pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies are embracing technology and Big Data in new ways, creating opportunities for those with tech backgrounds. It’s no secret that it takes years, even decades, to bring a new drug to market—and at tremendous costs. With pressure mounting to cut costs and be the first in class, pharmaceutical companies are leveraging data analytics and computational modeling to rapidly home in on the most likely molecular candidates, before going down a lengthy and very expensive rabbit hole. Diagnostics manufacturers are using large databases of genomic, medical, and environmental data to develop new tests, better able to identify which patients are at risk for a disease, and determine which patients are likely to benefit the most from a particular treatment. Foundation Medicine is building tests that will do just that for cancer patients. Figuring this out takes huge amounts of data, computational resources, and data science know-how.
Want to work on Big Data? Healthcare has it in spades. From claims and billing data to electronic health records, there is no shortage of data to be analyzed and insights to be identified.
Healthcare is on the cusp of a transformational change, moving at lightning speed. The goal? Better healthcare for healthier patients at the right price. But sustaining this momentum requires a new way of thinking about health and healthcare—and how we can leverage technology to make it happen. So, when you’re considering where your skills can take you, I hope you’ll take a chance on healthcare. You’ll gain the experience you need to take your career to the next level, while working on some of the most personally rewarding problems facing mankind today.
Healthcare needs you. We need you.
By Harry Glorikian, M.B.A.
General Partner, New Ventures Funds
Harry is currently a General Partner at New Ventures Funds (NV). Before joining NV Funds, he served as an Entrepreneur In Residence to GE Ventures –New Business Creation Group. He currently serves on the board of GeneNews Ltd. He also serves on the advisory board of Evidation Health (a digital health startup launched with support from GE Ventures), and several other companies. He is also a co-founder and an advisory board member of DrawBridge Health (a revolutionary diagnostics startup launched with support from GE Ventures). Harry holds an MBA from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University. Harry has addressed the NIH, Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, World Theranostics Congress and other audiences, worldwide. Harry is the author of two related books: Commercializing Novel IVD’s; A Comprehensive Manual for Success and MoneyBall Medicine: Thriving in the New Data-Driven Healthcare Market. He has authored numerous articles, appeared on CBS Evening News and been quoted regularly by Dow Jones, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, London Independent, Medical Device Daily, Science Magazine, Genetic Engineering News and many others.