GeekWire Health Tech

By GeekWire

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Health Tech is a narrative 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 third season is sponsored by Premera Blue Cross. Learn more about Premera here:

Episode Date
Paging Dr. Alexa

Voice assistants are coming to the hospital. Last month, Amazon Alexa announced a new skill that made the platform compliant with HIPAA, a set of privacy rules that govern patient data. Not far behind in the race are Google, Apple and Microsoft, which are also positioned to bring their voice assistants to healthcare settings. On this episode of the GeekWire Health Tech Podcast, we dig in with the first of a two-part series on the latest technology sweeping the industry. We’ll hear from innovators at two major health systems about how they're using Alexa in healthcare today as well as their predictions for the future of voice assistants.

May 23, 2019
Why smaller eye drops are a big deal

Nanodropper, a startup created by a group of University of Washington students, has developed an adapter that makes eye drops smaller. It’s a way for people with glaucoma and other eye diseases to waste less of their medication and save money. The idea was inspired by an article published by NPR and ProPublica, which pointed out how pharmaceutical companies make eye drops that are larger than what the human eye can physically absorb. 

Apr 16, 2019
Inside Amazon’s 'Haven' healthcare joint venture

It has been more than a year since the healthcare joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway was announced. Since then, we haven't heard much — until now. Last week, the venture finally got a name, Haven, and on its new website, the joint venture shared where it will focus within this $8 trillion global industry. And earlier this month, 300 pages of unsealed court documents offered additional clues about Haven’s plans. On this episode of GeekWire's Health Tech podcast, we catch up with health tech entrepreneurs, 98point6 CEO Robbie Cape and Wellpepper CEO Anne Weiler, to get their take on the joint venture's ambitions.

Mar 13, 2019
How an outsider solved a healthcare blind spot

Beth Kolko's superpower may not seem that out of the ordinary. She can't see through walls, but she can see what's wrong with the things we use in everyday life — problems that never occurred to the experts who built them. As the CEO of medical device maker Shift Labs, Kolko has focused that superpower on health care. Specifically, she wants to solve the problems that arise when an industry makes medical devices almost exclusively for patients in hospitals in rich countries and ignores almost everyone else.

Feb 19, 2019
The mobile ultrasound revolution

On this episode of GeekWire Health Tech, we look at how portable ultrasound devices are changing the medical landscape – building on the technology’s roots in the Seattle region. Ultrasound is going far beyond obstetrics  to allowing physicians to diagnose medical conditions more efficiently -- in the field and the clinic. And increasingly, it’s being used not just for imaging and diagnosis but for actual treatment of disease. Our guests are Mike Bailey, an engineer who focuses on ultrasound research and development at the University of Washington, along with health journalist Kellie Schmitt, who writes about the evolution of ultrasound in a new GeekWire article.

Jan 23, 2019
Live: How technology is changing healthcare

This episode features highlights from a special event, kicking off Season 3 of GeekWire's Health Podcast, on location at Premera Blue Cross, the sponsor of this new season of the show. The discussion sets the stage for the topics we'll be exploring this season, looking at the many ways technology is changing the healthcare landscape. We're joined by Ranjani Ramamurthyprincipal physician scientist at Microsoft, who has a background in both medicine and engineering, as an MD and a computer scientist; Oron Afek, CEO and co-founder at healthcare technology startup Vim; and Robbie Cape, CEO and co-founder of startup 98point6, a Seattle-based entrepreneur who sold his previous company, Cozi, to Time Inc. The discussion is kicked off by John Espinola, executive vice president of healthcare services for Premera Blue Cross.

Jan 09, 2019
Resilience: The story of Universal Cells

Twenty-one years ago, Claudia Mitchell arrived in a new country to start her doctorate program — with a 4-month old baby in tow. She is now a geneticist, an award-winning entrepreneur and the leader of Universal Cells, which was acquired in January for $100 million. Claudia shares her entrepreneur's journey with us on the season two finale of Health Tech, including the game-changing impact of universal donor cell technology.

Oct 31, 2018
The little vaccine that could

In 2000, rotavirus killed more than half a million children every year. Not many people had even heard of the disease. Then an unlikely alliance of international scientists, policymakers, one inexperienced entrepreneur and the richest man in the world teamed up to take it on. We tell the story of what happened on this episode.

Sep 14, 2018
CAR T: The Underdog Cancer Killer

Nine years ago, Stephanie Florence was diagnosed with incurable blood cancer. Today, she's cancer-free thanks to a new treatment called CAR T immunotherapy. This treatment is the golden child of cancer research today — but it wasn't always this way. Find out how CAR T went from an underdog to a cancer killer on this episode of Health Tech.

Aug 08, 2018
Can Amazon 'fix' healthcare?

The U.S. healthcare system needs to change. But how? Can the system be 'fixed' the way that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase want to fix it with their new healthcare company? What would 'fixing' the system even look like? We explore answers to those questions on this episode of Health Tech. 

Jul 12, 2018
Doctors Without Data

Dr. Dan Low wanted to know how his patients were doing on a new drug. Getting the data was so painful, he decided to found his own software company to make it easier. On this episode of Health Tech: Dan's journey from career doctor to startup CEO and back, and what his experience says about the state of healthcare data.

Jun 06, 2018
AI vs. Cancer

Su-In Lee's father passed away from incurable cancer. Now she's using her expertise in artificial intelligence to help cancer patients find the most effective treatment — based on their genetic data. On this episode, we follow Su-In's story and explore how precision medicine is increasingly using health data, AI and other technologies to fight diseases from cancer to Alzheimer's. 

May 03, 2018
A 'tricorder' in your home: Lee Hood on the future of health technology
Technologies have drastically changed health and healthcare in the past 20 years and Lee Hood is one of the innovators behind those changes. We speak to the genetics and biology pioneer about how he brought engineering into biology and explore his vision for the future of health, tricorders and all. This is the final episode of our first season of Health Tech -- subscribe to the Health Tech podcast in your favorite podcast player to get notifications about our second season.
Feb 07, 2018
Health's AI revolution
The healthcare world faces a lot of challenges, and oftentimes it also knows the answer to those challenges -- it just needs some help putting the pieces together. That's where artificial intelligence comes in. On this episode of Health Tech, we dive into how health is using AI to solve some of its biggest problems. Follow all our health and technology coverage at
Jan 09, 2018
CVS, Aetna and healthcare's 'mass freak-out'
Amazon might start selling prescription drugs online — and it's causing a "mass freak-out" among the healthcare industry. One result: drugstore chain CVS brough Aetna, a health insurance company. We analyze the trends behind the deal and ask: Are they going to be good for patients?

Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Dec 07, 2017
Disrupting healthcare from the inside
Tech is all about disruption. Healthcare is about slow and steady change. How do you merge those worlds? For Mike McSherry and Mary Haggard, the answer was to innovate form the inside out. Mary runs Providence St. Joseph Health's startup incubator and Mike is the founder and CEO of Xealth, its first spinout. We hear about their work to change the healthcare system from the inside on this live Health Tech episode.
Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Nov 29, 2017
The Quadfather
Todd Stabelfeldt is a pretty chill dude — he's funny, loves his dogs and is a wizard programmer. He also happens to be quadriplegic. He uses technology like Apple's Siri voice assistant and smart home devices to give him a new level of independence and control over his life. On this episode, we step — or roll —  into Todd’s world and see technology through his eyes.
Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Nov 01, 2017
How tech is reinventing doctor's appointments
Getting a doctor's appointment can be a pain. It's why people often put them off for far longer than they should, sometimes making their health much worse. Mark Long is trying to fix that. He's the VP of digital innovation at Providence St. Joseph Health, and he's developing technology like virtual doctor's visits and house calls that are as easy as calling an Uber. We speak to Mark on this episode of GeekWire's Health Tech podcast. Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health's Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Oct 09, 2017
Using data and crowdsourcing to fight cancer
Dr. Tony Blau saw a big problem with cancer treatment: we can’t make sense of all the data we can gather. So he founded a startup that connects experts, doctors and patients to sort through their data and build an ever-smarter cancer database. We speak with Blau on this episode of GeekWire’s Health Tech podcast.
Sep 14, 2017
Health Tech: Former Amazon exec bringing tech insights to healthcare
Everyone has an opinion on healthcare and think they know the one thing that will “solve” the system. Tech companies and innovators are no different -- but many who jump into healthcare find it’s not as straightforward as they thought. On this episode of Health Tech, we speak with Aaron Martin, a former VP at Amazon who is now bringing innovation into healthcare as an executive and tech leader at Providence St. Joseph Health. We get his take on the role and the common pitfalls of tech in health, and how innovators can have a real impact in the system.
Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group sponsors this inaugural season of our Health Tech podcast and this episode was recorded live at Providence headquarters in Seattle. Follow them at
Aug 16, 2017
Health Tech: This diabetes patient built her own artificial pancreas
Dana Lewis has Type 1 diabetes, which means her pancreas doesn't make the insulin she needs to survive. So she built a new one. Dana is the founder of the Open Source Artificial Pancreas System, a computer system that hundreds of diabetes patients now use to automatically manage their condition. We tell Dana's story on this episode of the GeekWire Health Tech Podcast. Read more about our health and technology coverage at

Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Jul 18, 2017
How these psychologists became app developers
Apps can be addictive — but can they also help us kick harmful addictions? On this episode of GeekWire’s Health Tech podcast, we talk to two psychologists who are developing apps to help people quit smoking. Their journey from medical school to the tech world shows how technologies can push the boundaries of health. Follow all our coverage of health and healthcare technology at
Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Jun 29, 2017
Season 1, Ep. 2: A tiny gadget takes on a giant health problem
Taking a pill isn’t so hard. The tricky thing is remembering to take it. Patients not taking medication properly is a huge problem for the health industry, but these three entrepreneurs think they have a solution: A gadget that can fit in the palm of your hand.
Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Jun 06, 2017
Season 1, Ep. 1: The ultimate medical device — a smartphone
At just 35 years old, computer scientist Shwetak Patel has made a career out of taking on "grand challenges." Now he's tackling his biggest challenge yet: health. He’s using code and some creativity to turn the smartphones we carry around every day into powerful medical devices.
Thank you to our sponsor, Providence St. Joseph Health’s Digital and Innovation Group. Follow them at
Jun 02, 2017
Welcome to GeekWire's new Health Tech podcast
An introduction to Health Tech, the new podcast from GeekWire exploring the cutting edge of digital health with some of the top innovators in the field. Co-hosted by GeekWire's Clare McGrane and Todd Bishop, and sponsored by Providence St. Joseph Health's Digital & Innovation Group.
Jun 02, 2017