49 episodes

Health Tech is a GeekWire podcast that explores the cutting edge of digital health. On each episode, we bring you stories about innovative technologies for patients, doctors and more, giving you a window into the future of health. Our fifth season is sponsored by Premera Blue Cross. Learn more about Premera here: http://bit.ly/2rSK8mT

GeekWire Health Tech GeekWire

    • Technology
    • 4.9 • 28 Ratings

Health Tech is a GeekWire podcast that explores the cutting edge of digital health. On each episode, we bring you stories about innovative technologies for patients, doctors and more, giving you a window into the future of health. Our fifth season is sponsored by Premera Blue Cross. Learn more about Premera here: http://bit.ly/2rSK8mT

    How AI will accelerate the response to the next pandemic

    How AI will accelerate the response to the next pandemic

    The speed of the creation of vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was a modern marvel. You might already have already gotten yours.

    But what if vaccines and therapeutics could emerge even faster in response to the next pandemic. That’s one of the goals of a $5 million gift from Microsoft to the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine. 

    On this episode, we talk with Microsoft’s chief scientific officer, Eric Horvitz, and the director of the UW institute, David Baker, about the new age of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, and the potential to engineer a very different future.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Walter Isaacson on the gene editing revolution

    Walter Isaacson on the gene editing revolution

    Walter Isaacson has studied and written extensively about the physics and technology revolutions as the biographer of such figures as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. But after writing his latest book, he is convinced there's a far more momentous revolution in the works.

    "The next few decades are going to be the era of biotech," he said in a GeekWire podcast conversation about his new book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race. "We'll be able to do totally amazing things that will not only make us healthier but in some ways will transform our species. So as much as I love the digital revolution, I think this is the big one."

    The book explores the history and implications of gene editing through the stories of scientists and other key figures in the field. The central character is Jennifer Doudna, the UC Berkeley biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020 with French geneticist Emmanuelle Charpentier for their discoveries and work in CRISPR gene editing.

    Isaacson is a professor of history at Tulane who was previously CEO of The Aspen Institute, chair of CNN and editor of Time. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    Finding secrets of life in close brushes with death

    Finding secrets of life in close brushes with death

    To help people live, Mark Roth scrutinizes those who've come frighteningly close to dying. People who have been lost in the frozen wilderness in a Mount Rainier whiteout or stowed away in the wheel well of a trans-Pacific jet. People who have suffered massive heart attacks or body-crushing car wrecks.

    Roth, a biochemist and cell biologist at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, sees a thread connecting these catastrophes with something seemingly quite different: immortality. Both conditions "press pause" on life, he said. It's playing dead without being dead.

    An entrepreneur and past winner of a MacArthur "Genius Grant," Roth built a career on making unlikely, unconventional, scientific connections. He shares the story of his extraordinary work on this episode of GeekWire’s Health Tech Podcast, reported and hosted by GeekWire reporter Lisa Stiffler.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 24 min
    Testing a new COVID-19 test

    Testing a new COVID-19 test

    GeekWire editor Todd Bishop: On a cold, clear weekday morning last month, my quest to figure out whether I had COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic took me to my back porch, where a mobile phlebotomist drew my blood. It had been 10 months since I was sick, and I had already received a negative result on a standard antibody test. 

    That earlier test was designed to detect the presence of the antibodies produced by the body’s immune system to ward off the virus that causes COVID-19. The negative result meant I probably didn't have COVID back in March. But given the possibility of a false negative in the antibody test, I wasn’t giving up that easily. And this test was different.

    This was a first-of-its kind diagnostic tool from Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies, a company that develops technology to sequence the human immune system for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. T-cells are specialized cells that determine the human immune system’s response to disease.

    Adaptive says tell-tale signs of T-cell responses to specific diseases can be detected earlier and longer than antibody responses, and with a higher degree of accuracy.

    Adaptive Biotechnologies’ new test, called T-Detect COVID, was developed in partnership with Microsoft officially launched this week, under CLIA Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the T-Detect COVID test for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The test costs $150 plus lab fees.

    On this episode of the GeekWire Health Tech Podcast, we’ll talk with Lance Baldo, Adaptive's chief medical officer, to learn exactly how this test works, and what it could mean for diagnosing and treating a wide range of diseases. And yes, I’ll finally learn almost definitely, whether I had COVID or not. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    'Data saves lives': U.S. health systems unite behind new startup

    'Data saves lives': U.S. health systems unite behind new startup

    A group of 14 U.S. health systems, representing tens of millions of patients across 40 states, will pool data using software developed by Seattle startup Truveta, leveraging artificial intelligence to search for medical breakthroughs and previously undetected patterns of inequity in healthcare.

    The company, led by former Microsoft Windows chief Terry Myerson, gave new details about its origins and plans Thursday morning, saying it has grown to 53 employees. Truveta emerged from stealth mode in October.

    Created and governed by the participating health systems, Truveta says its goal is to extract insights from large amounts of health data, using those insights to improve healthcare without sacrificing the privacy of patients. The health systems will use software developed by Truveta to remove personally identifying information from the data. In addition, the company says it will be able to provide researchers with statistically representative populations for studies and clinical trials.

    Appearing on this episode are Myerson, the Truveta CEO; and Dr. Rod Hochman, president and CEO of Providence, the Renton, Wash.-based health system where the initiative began.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 20 min
    Halo Effect: Amazon, privacy, and the future of health

    Halo Effect: Amazon, privacy, and the future of health

    GeekWire editor Todd Bishop: A few weeks ago, I started wearing a new health band. It regularly eavesdrops on my side of conversations, and it has a lot of opinions about them.

    “You had three phrases that sounded annoyed, irritated or disgusted," a section in the app reported on a recent evening, recapping my daily interactions. Not only that, but I had "one phrase that sounded stubborn or condescending.”

    Another feature invites me to strip down to my underwear for a picture.

    "Find a well-lit area and try to avoid light from behind," a voice from the app instructed me as it prepared to conduct a high-tech, 3D body scan. "Change into minimal clothing so the camera can see your body.”

    Yes, as you might have guessed by now, this is the Amazon Halo band and subscription service, part of the tech giant’s big move into health and wellness.

    Thanks to its revelations, I am now painfully aware of my tone of voice, and more empathetic toward my family and friends who have to put up with me. I've informed the Amazon team of a feature request from my wife, who would like to receive an emailed report on my tone of voice at the end of each day.

    As for the body scan, let's just say this is one image that I won't be publishing with this story, and you're welcome.

    You might have seen reviews of Halo. The Washington Post’s Geoffrey A. Fowler and Heather Kelly wrote that it “collects the most intimate information we’ve seen from a consumer health gadget — and makes the absolute least use of it.”

    Based on my own experience, I agree with the first point, but not the second. Yes, Halo pushes the limits of my comfort zone at times. I have yet to get the motivation to take a second body scan after the first experience. But I have also started to rely on several of the features, including the in-depth sleep analysis and the tone assessment — two big areas where I personally have lots of room for improvement. 

    The band is comfortable to wear, and the programs in the app are useful. Just this week I boosted my time in deep sleep after doing a recommended progressive muscle relaxation exercise available in the Halo app before bed.

    And despite concerns from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and others about the personal data Halo collects, I've found Amazon to be transparent about what it's doing, and clear in enabling me as the user to choose to participate, or not, in the more invasive aspects of the app. Yet Amazon could be doing even more to build trust.

    On this episode of the GeekWire Health Tech Podcast, we explore the future of health — and test the limits of personal privacy — through Amazon’s new health band and service. We talk with the principal medical officer on the Amazon Halo team to get the inside details on what the company is doing, and we hear an outside assessment of Amazon’s privacy and security promises from an independent expert.

    Episode edited and produced by Josh Kerns of Cypress Point Strategic Communications.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

Arlie K ,

On the pulse!

I came for the COVID coverage, but I've taken away so much more! Health Tech has an eye on the all latest innovations at the crossroads of wellness and technology. With intriguing and timely topics featured in every episode, it's quickly become a favorite!

Ahoog69 ,

Optimistically Eye Opening

Well produced and very fascinating. I just wish the episodes would come more frequently!

luvfromabuv ,

Great Podcast

I just started listening today and already impressed. Very simple explanations for complicated topics (i.e., healthcare system, CAT-S, etc). Good for folks who are new to these topics and just want basic understanding. The host is great at keeping it simple.

Top Podcasts In Technology

Listeners Also Subscribed To