Why Microsoft's head of healthcare once thought his role was a 'career-ending move'

Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Healthcare, said he thought he had made a "career-ending move" after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella asked him to head up the company's healthcare strategy almost three years ago, according to SFGate.

Speaking at the the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Lee explained that, at the time, big technology companies hadn't had much success in the healthcare space. For one: Microsoft's personal health information service HealthVault failed shortly after its launch.

"Let's face it. The tech industry is littered with attempts by shiny CEOs to go after a piece of this massive healthcare pie," Mr. Lee said, according to SFGate. "I think, pretty consistently, the tech industry has gone into it with a lot of naïveté, even some arrogance. So my knee-jerk assumption was 'Here we go again.'"

Since then, Mr. Lee has worked with his team to imagine what contributions Microsoft could make in healthcare. Now, he feels like the company is poised to make a meaningful mark.  

One area Mr. Lee sees high potential for Microsoft is genomics, a field that requires massive data storage capabilities — up to 200 gigabytes for just one individual's genome. With the rise in popularity of genetic testing, and promising research and advancements in personalized medicine, Mr. Lee is confident Microsoft will be able to help improve patient care.

"We know [genomics are] going to spread," Mr. Lee said. "When that spreads, the kind of hyperscale computing infrastructure that Microsoft and a small number of other companies have will really be crucial to making that work."

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