In his new job as the federal chief data scientist, DJ Patil will be working on a new Obama administration project to use big data to improve patient care, the White House said. The Precision Medicine Initiative is an effort to test and eventually use “precision medicine” that is, treatment plans that factor in differences from patient to patient to help treat cancer and other diseases. As part of the plan, researchers hope to bring together 1 million or more volunteers to participate in a research cohort. Participants would share genomic data, lifestyle information and biological samples, and that information would be linked to their electronic medical records, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said during a two-day workshop on the program last week. Researchers then ideally would analyze that information to improve medical treatments.
G2X TAKE: “DJ Patil, who has held of a number of jobs as a data scientist, most notably at LinkedIn, has joined the White House as a data scientist-in-residence with a focus on helping handle health care data.” Mr. Patil is a well-known leader in this area and this is just another example of the administration luring Silicon Valley talent to help push the innovation agenda. On Feb. 18, DJ Patil was named U.S. chief data scientist. The next morning he was on stage at O’Reilly Media’s Strata+Hadoop World conference in San Jose, California, sketching his vision for the job and the future of data-driven government to a Silicon Valley audience. With a planned $215M for the Precision Medicine initiative in the FY 16 budget, “funding will go toward efforts within NIH, the Food and Drug Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to a White House fact sheet.”