Supporting Health Outcomes with an Open Mind and an Open Source Approach

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Source: Ashoka

Last week we introduced the first in a series of interviews covering open source thinking over at Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), and today we're bringing you the second. Again moderated by two of our favorites, Roshan Paul and Alexa Clay, this week's interview is all about health care. Ashoka Fellow, Changemakers expert commentator, and President of Sage Bionetworks Dr. Stephen Friend joins the program to discuss the problem with the current health care research and R&D community -- and how the good doctor is using an open source model to transform closed biomedical research systems:

"The medical information system is closed. Scientists get funded to generate data, then they publish it, and only then do they talk about it. The same is true for R&D in pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The current system is a primitive model, a sort of hunter-gatherer approach. A single researcher or closed team of researchers go after a molecular target or cure in isolation. It’s a them-against-the-world mentality. The “medical-industrial complex” is not incentivized to share amongst each other, let alone with patients.

At Sage Bionetworks, we are building a system where molecular knowledge about diseases can be pooled together from patients, scientists, and physicians. As a result, communities with a specific interest in a disease—say Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s—can bring their data together. Once brought together, the data and models for the disease can evolve as more data is collected.”

As always, click through to check out the interview in its entirety and stay tuned for future entries in this series.