Archives for March 20, 2018

What’s The Next Big Thing In Healthcare?

Sorry, docs, but don’t expect the dreaded electronic health record (EHR) to go away anytime soon. Or so bets Venrock’s Bryan Roberts, whose 20-year record as a healthcare venture capitalist has involved hearing some 25,000 pitches and shepherding nine portfolio companies with billion-plus dollar valuations.

“While all docs complain about their EHRs, as central repository for clinical information I think they’ll continue to exist for a longtime,” said Roberts, who was speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Monday about “the next big thing” in health care. (Hint: an EHR replacement is not it.) “Whether they’ll improve their user interfaces or be disrupted out of that, I don’t know but the disruption is going to be hard.”

Not that the technology shouldn’t be disrupted. Roberts called the current system “sort of untenable”—with doctors spending much of their time with patients entering things into the EHR and even more time at night.

“You ought to be able to sit in a patient encounter and have my discussion and bring things out of the database that prompt me to ask you stuff,” he says. “You ought to be able to get in and out for that in real time.”

He gives the much hated, notoriously clunky medical technology another decade at least, and says, personally, rather than trying to disrupt the entrenched EHR, he’d bet on companies that take on “that last mile”—or helping medical professionals to more easily interact with such databases.

Jessica Mega, chief medical officer at Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences arm, added that the broader challenge will be for health care systems to figure out the infrastructure that will let physicians and medical professionals tap not just the data in their EHR, but also what is generated from new sources of data like genomic sequencing.

Roberts expects that some of the most exciting innovation in healthcare will incorporate seemingly more sophisticated technologies like voice recognition and machine learning. “They’re just pushing those capabilities so far, so fast.” That said, he added it takes at least a decade to build an interesting product or service that is truly disruptive.

Mega said Verily is also taking a long view, but expects that its Project Baseline, which involves collecting detailed health-related data from 10,000 study volunteers will produce some “new biology”—that is new insights into biology—in the next five years.

Should we be wary of hype? When asked about the recent and spectacular downfall of Theranos, the blood diagnostics unicorn whose founder Elizabeth Holmes was recently accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of fraud, Roberts said he doesn’t think there will be another Theranos. He does say it gets tricky because start-ups are in the business or “selling forward.” There’s a mentality of “fake it till you make it,” but that becomes a problem if they never make it. He said the best guards against that are diligence and investing in people who are “truth-seeking.”

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom asks for Obama to appear in NZ damages case

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said on Tuesday he has filed an application for former U.S. President Barack Obama to appear in court in relation to a damages claim over his defunct Megaupload streaming website while Obama visits New Zealand this week.

FILE PHOTO: German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom arrives for a court hearing in Auckland, New Zealand, September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

German-born Dotcom is wanted by U.S. law enforcement authorities on copyright and money-laundering allegations related to Megaupload, which was shut down in 2012 while Obama was president, after an FBI-ordered raid on his Auckland mansion.

He was indicted the same year along with fellow Megaupload executives.

Dotcom, who has described the U.S. prosecution as “politically motivated”, and several other New Zealand-based defendants have denied the allegations. They also face potential extradition to the United States, which they have challenged.

“The Obama administration was under pressure from Hollywood to ‘get tough’ on copyright enforcement or lose Hollywood’s support,” Dotcom said in a statement.

“We were the perfect target – successful, high profile, and based outside the United States,” he said.

Obama’s media team has yet to reply to an emailed request for comment.

In a separate case, Dotcom filed claims for damages of roughly $10 billion in December against U.S. and New Zealand authorities “for the destruction of Megaupload” and the constraints on his liberty for more than seven years.

Dotcom said he filed an application in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, on Monday asking for Obama to give evidence in his damages claim during his visit to New Zealand.

“There is evidence that President Obama (as he then was) knew the real purpose behind the United States prosecution. That, and further evidence of political motivation in the United States and New Zealand, is set out in the affidavit I have filed in the High Court at Auckland,” Dotcom said.

The court has yet to respond to the application and its response could come after Obama’s departure.

Obama will be in New Zealand from Wednesday to Friday. He has meetings scheduled with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former prime minister John Key before leaving for Sydney.

Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, became well known as much for his lavish lifestyle as for his computer skills.

Dozens of black-clad police raided Dotcom’s mansion in 2012, breaking him out of a safe room and confiscating millions of dollars in cash and property, including a fleet of luxury cars, computers and art work.

Reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Paul Tait