Some Glimpses into the Challenges of Data Visualization Panel Event

Theral Timpson

Big Data might offer tremendous breakthroughs in healthcare and personalized medicine.  But with the new amounts of terabytes and petabytes flooding organizations today, old architectures aren't able to keep up.

Take the genome, for instance.  We know that there is a ton of valuable information in there.  But how does one go about looking at it?  Doctors have very little time as it is, and decision making becomes a burden becuase it takes days to get answers to questions, if at all.  And what about the opportunity to get genomic data to the lay person as 23andMe was doing?  

On June 5th, about sixty of us turned the Oakland office of Omicia into an event venue for networking and a discussion, "Delivering Genomic Medicine: Challenges in Data Visualization and Reporting."

Panelists were Martin Reese, the CSO and founder of Omicia; Michele Cargill, a genetic scientist at InVitae, and Adam Baker, a product designer at the new start up, Iodine.   The audience, including Omicia's new CMO, Paul Billings, and a group of 23andMe folks actively drove the discussion on what is clearly a hot topic.

Some pictures and takeaways:

-While visualizations of the genome have come a long way, genome interpretation companies still have to find new, simpler ways of presenting their data.

-Doctors want a simple, green-yellow-red light kind of answer to their question. They don't have time to go through long reports.

-Online reports are best.  They offer the chance to show a simple report up front with the possibility to click through for further information if needed/desired.

-Genetic counselors have a critical, but not very fun job.  The science is often vague, and patients' knowledge of genetics is limited.

-Success in genomic reporting will depend in large part on the user interface. 

-You don't have to dumb down the presentation. Yelp and Expedia are examples of complex data sets that are navigated by millions every day.


Panelists Martin Reese, Michele Cargill, and Adam Baker with Moderator, Theral Timpson

Matt Landry, Nola Masterson

Paul Billings

Ashley Dombkowski 

The event was sponsored and co-produced by Chempetitive Group, a life science marketing company that is "introverted about marketing and extroverted about science."

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