Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will advise the Trump administration on health information technology policy as a member of a committee authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act.
House Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Soon-Shiong to the 25-member Health Information Technology Advisory Committee. Soon-Shiong joins other recent congressional appointees, including Norton Healthcare Chief Information Officer Steve Ready, appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); and Sutter Health clinical informaticist Dr. Steven Lane, appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Soon-Shiong, a billionaire, has drawn media scrutiny for possible conflicts of interest tied to his research organization, the Chan Soon-Shiong NantHealth Foundation. Most of the foundation's spending goes to businesses and not-for-profit organizations that Soon-Shiong controls, according to a Politico investigation.
Soon-Shiong began his medical career at UCLA, where he created a new transplant operation for treating diabetes, which was only temporarily successful. Later, he helped develop a new cancer drug, Abraxane, that was sold by his company Abraxis. The sales of that company and another that Soon-Shiong started solidified his wealth, which he has since used to buy parts of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tronc, which publishes the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers.
In 2007, Soon-Shiong founded NantHealth, a precision-medicine company. The company has since been hit with lawsuits for allegedly violating federal securities laws and for misleading investors before its IPO.
Soon-Shiong, a donor to many state Democratic parties last year, is one of eight members of the health IT committee appointed by Congress. Three others are appointed by HHS Secretary Tom Price, and the rest are appointed by the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office. The committee will advise the national coordinator for health information technology on policy, standards and other issues related to health IT.