Will Your Doctor Carry an iPad? Xconomy Delves Into the Future of Health IT on May 12

Xconomy Seattle — 

Some of our regular readers have noticed we are on a Health IT kick around here at Xconomy. We launched a new Health IT website earlier this month, and our colleagues in Boston are gearing up for a big event on that theme there on April 26. Not to be outdone, Greg and I are getting ready for our own Northwest-based take on where “bytes, bio, and healthcare converge,” as our own Ryan McBride put it a while back.

I’m talking about the big event we have planned here in Seattle on May 12 titled, “How Information Technology is Transforming Medicine and Healthcare.” This event is loaded with a dozen speakers who are using IT to create more effective new medicines, help consumers monitor their wellness, enable providers to deliver healthcare more efficiently, and to make sense of the vast piles of data from our genomes that are the key to the future of medicine.

The health IT field is moving at breakneck speed. We first publicly announced this gathering on March 17, just six days before President Obama raised the stakes when he signed the historic health care reform bill. Another 11 days later, the Lord of Apple descended from the heavens and bestowed upon us the iPad, which apparently some people consider a breakthrough device for physicians. (The sarcasm you detect is intentional—count me a skeptic.)

Regardless of what might change in the next few days or weeks, we’ve put together a lineup of speakers who will seek to help us understand the existing landscape for health IT and the changes they see coming down the road. The list includes Swedish Medical Center CEO Rod Hochman, who oversees the largest nonprofit hospital in Seattle; Stephen Friend, the founder of Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit effort to get researchers and physicians to combine data from genomes with clinical observations; and Don Listwin, the founder of the Canary Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to early detection of cancer, partially through a strong biological IT emphasis. Before starting Canary, Listwin was the No. 2 executive at computer networking giant Cisco Systems.

We will also hear from David Cerino, who oversees Microsoft’s HealthVault program, and Chad Waite of OVP Venture Partners, who has invested for years in companies that seek to apply IT to biological and medical problems. We’re bringing together a number of dogged entrepreneurs with a strong biological and healthcare-IT bent, from companies that include Seattle-based Geospiza, Victoria, BC-based Genologics, Bellevue, WA-based Talyst, Seattle-based Appature, Hillsboro, OR-based Kryptiq, and Seattle-based Clarity Health. For good measure, Greg Foltz, a neurosurgeon at Swedish who works in partnership with the Institute for Systems Biology, can talk about technologies he is using today to create personalized treatments for brain cancer.

Neither my colleague Greg nor I own an iPhone, iPad, or any piece of personal technology that might be considered cool. Neither one of us is planning to buy one anytime soon. And I’m personally not holding my breath for the day when we spit on a microarray chip, slide it into a mobile device, and communicate with our doctors in real-time about whether our blood pressure is a little high that day. That’s still visionary stuff, but you can bet we’re going to ask this distinguished group of people how far away they think that day is in the future, and what needs to happen first to get there. I’m looking forward to it, and to hearing your questions for these speakers.

If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, you can register by clicking here. See you on May 12.