It’s no secret that companies like Apple and Amazon know more about pharma’s customers than pharma itself. Patients are much more apt to share data with them, a stark reality which has been a big impetus driving the industry to evolve beyond its siloes, as drug and device makers alike cozy up with the tech and digital natives.

The pursuit of health data, not necessarily a simple play for scale, has also been behind several of the line-blurring tie-ups we’ve seen of late in the healthcare industry, like CVS buying Aetna, Cigna acquiring Express Scripts, and Walmart entering talks to take over Humana. 
Members of this year’s Top 40 Healthcare Transformers class, our fourth, personify this virtuous obsession with health data, either hunting it down and returning it to its original owners, freeing it from proprietary constraints, or simply gathering and making more sense out of it. Emblematic of this quality is Scarlet Shore.

Shore is product manager for Verily’s Project Baseline, the effort to democratize clinical research by collating — you guessed it — patient data, as it flows from all manner of consumer digital devices, in a bid to develop a “baseline” of good health. 
Recognizing that a far greater amount of biometric information is generated outside the clinic, if only we could lend structure to it all and solve clinical research’s historic participation conundrum, it’s as ambitious a goal as any on the outsized agenda of Verily CEO Andy Conrad. 
Full profiles on Shore and her fellow data disciples not only appear online in an engaging grid format newly created for the occasion by our Content Hub. They’re also featured in our May print magazine. And several Transformers, both past and present, will speak in person at MM&M Transforming Healthcare, our spring conference taking place on Thursday, May 17, in New York. 

A good deal of data is also collected whenever patients interact with the healthcare system, but it’s owned by companies that historically haven’t been too keen on open-sourcing their data vaults (although federal regulations now require that to a certain degree). That’s where Patientory comes in. The mission of this startup involves helping patients to, in the words of CEO Chrissa McFarlane, “collect every piece of data about them in a single place.” 
Joining these two upstarts on our list of those leading healthcare’s data transformation is Silicon Valley veteran Anil Sethi. The former director of Apple Health has a new startup, Ciitizen, focused on enabling people to share their personal information, from genomics and lab reports to ethical wills.
Analytics adherents abound in biopharma, too, and a number of them grace this year’s list, from AstraZeneca’s Kishore Kumar — dubbed “the data whisperer” — to Amgen’s John Jorden, whose remit involves assessing the potential of buzzy tech like AI to mitigate patient needs. 
Big data occupies a slightly different, though no less prominent, place in the minds of our Top 10 Innovation Catalysts. These agency- and vendor-based folks are channeling predictive analytics and a host of other emerging tech for the benefit of all. Check out their contributions as you peruse the write-ups of both the T40 and IC10. 
Democratizing clinical data collected on mobile devices, as Project Baseline aims to do, and overcoming the lack of interoperability among information repositories, as is the mission of Patientory and Ciitizen, are just a couple of the ideas that, though they may have once seemed wild, now have a chance to really reshape healthcare.

While the privacy risks of wider access to data have been highlighted anew in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, such risks must be balanced with the potential benefits of, in this case, owning our own health data. Whether it resides in a proprietary EMR or on an iPhone, such data, accessed responsibly, promise to greatly improve our experience with the health system.

It’s why Amazon’s skunkworks lab, 1492, and Apple’s health unit are also working on similar data projects, following previous stumbles by Google and Microsoft. It’s why we’re cheering on these entrepreneurs. And it’s why, as Shore notes, “It’s an incredibly exciting time in healthcare and technology.”