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Linda Avey

Cofounder, Curious Inc.; cofounder, 23andMe

Linda Avey

For splicing information with quality medical care.

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What does she do?

Curious Inc. provides an online forum for people to share their personal health data and interpret it collectively.

How can a creative approach improve the health care field?

“We’re all creative, and I think we can harness this creativity by listening to patients more. The traditional model of research was to cut off any conversation or engagement with the patients, but we need to get directly involved and have an ­ongoing conversation.”

What skill or mind-set could the health care world use more of?

“Much of what’s broken in our system at a fundamental level comes from the education process. If we can have a little more of a cross-pollination, that would open the education process to more ideas and creativity.”

What’s a challenge that you often come across?

“Some people are questioning what opening up these cans of worms means for privacy. Those are worthy conversations. But at the same time, if they are impeding progress, that’s where I get frustrated.”

What can better data or big data teach us about health that we didn’t know before?

“We’re starting to see companies open up access to data. The more we have, the more we’re ­going to start to learn. The question is, How do we probe our bodies in interesting ways and quantify what’s going on?”

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.

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