The hot buzzword in the tech world right now is “disruption,” the concept that one clever idea can completely shake up a stale industry, leading to new practices and big profits. Companies such as Amazon, Skype, and iTunes have dramatically changed how book stores, phone companies, and music sales work, with sometimes controversial results. But for many reasons, health care has largely resisted major tech-driven revolutions so far, its massive bulk and entrenched interests providing disruption-proof armor few other industries can boast.
But at last week’s Big Data & Health conference, co-organized by the Computation Institute and the UChicago Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), many of the speakers signaled that data-based change was on the way for health care and research.
“This is, I think, a moment in time where we’re seeing the potential for disruption is probably highest since maybe the creation of Medicaid and Medicare back in the 60’s,” said Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “We’re at one of these inflection moments right now where I think almost anything is possible.”