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Quantified Medicine: Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Effort to Transform Healthcare in the United States – November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011

I sent the following announcement to 7,084 Wireless Health LinkedIn Group Members on November 15, 2011. Note that the event was actually on the 14th, but I didn’t send the announcement until after midnight.

Quantified Medicine: Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Effort to Transform Healthcare in the United States

Dear Wireless Health group members,

After seeing a great article about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong written by Zina Moukheiber in Forbes last week, I was fortunate to have another chance to hear him speak in person, this time at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA. I mentioned this upcoming opportunity to Zina and she suggested I share highlights of his talk with the group, which I’m happy to do. (For a more in-depth analysis of what Patrick is doing, please read Zina’s article via the link below.)

As Patrick recounted today about his professional beginnings in South Africa (where he had to take 50% of the salary of his peers in order to become the first Chinese doctor in the country), what struck me was that he has always maintained integrity to his vision. Patrick describes himself as an MD first – not a businessman or someone focused merely on building shareholder value. As he put it in regard to his many accomplishments (and setbacks), he holds a persistent and deep-held belief that the work he was doing was right, and by “right”, he means in the sense that it could help a lot of people. Ironically and refreshingly, this consistent thread seems to explain his great business success.

One example of this was when he was doing kidney and pancreas transplants at UCLA, and the outcomes had a high percentage of unsatisfactory outcomes (blood in the urine). While this was normal – and financially lucrative – he did not see it as good for patients, and shut down the program. What he learned, however, was that there could be a way to produce better outcomes by using cell transplantation. After researching his concepts for two years he did the first encapsulated transplant in a human patient.

It’s no surprise that, similar to Dr. Paul Terasaki (who was in attendance today and Patrick thanked for believing in him), Patrick self-identifies as a physician interested in science. He emphasized that the cross-disciplinary approach to scientific advancement is key. In looking at all that he is doing, it is apparent that his modus operandi is to bridge scientific disciplines and connect people for knowledge sharing and collaboration. He is also working to enable efficient and effective information distribution and analyses, all with an overarching vision to spur innovation and create tangible results that improve our health.

As I understand it, Patrick describes the overarching vision that he hopes to turn into a reality as “quantified medicine”. It’s not a simple thing and, while we can hear him talk at length as to what he is driving towards (see videos below), there are so many big, complex, and seemingly very disparate moving pieces that need to be aligned that the natural reaction is skepticism of all kinds. I don’t share the skepticism, however, as I’m confident that there is substance and altruism in his efforts. And as Patrick states, if we follow our passion, our science, and find people who believe in us, his vision – our shared vision – is certainly achievable.


UPDATE: Here’s video of the event:

Also, you can follow Dr. Soon-Shiong on Twitter:  @solvehealthcare


Video Interview

Article by Zina Moukheiber, Contributing Editor at Forbes Media

California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)

Patrick acknowledged Dr. Paul Terasaki for believing in him

NantWorks (see video of Patrick’s keynote address at CTIA)

Pharmaceutical Companies Must Take Responsibility

Pic from today’s event:


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