Dr. Ty Vachon

Published - Written by Celine Witherell, Digital Health Strategy - American Medical Association

Ty Vachon, MD is a radiologist and Founder of ORA Informatics. Dr. Vachon is based in San Diego, California and regularly uses the Physician Innovation Network (PIN) to share resources, engage in discussions and connect with entrepreneurs and digital health companies. Dr. Vachon has been a PIN member since March 2018 and we’re very excited to feature him in our first ever PIN Point Monthly Member Spotlight!


Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Ty Vachon:
If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone, because that’s where you’re going to grow. If you want to improve, be ok with being uncomfortable.


Q: What advice do you have for physicians who are interested in getting involved in digital health?
Just get started! As I saw machine learning applied to radiology, I started googling. I found YouTube videos and courses on Coursera and LinkedIn. I took class after class and I started to understand the words that the computer scientists were using, and then I could match those with the words that I was hearing physicians use. This knowledge helped me become extremely valuable to the companies that I advise. It was uncomfortable to learn a whole new vocabulary, and I’m certainly not an expert, but I’m able to speak the language when it matters. Be ok with discomfort and just get started.


Q: What artist or band is on your most played list?
Journey! "Don’t Stop Believing" is one of my favorites.


Q: How do you define innovation?
There’s a 3 circle Venn Diagram and I use it when I’m thinking about machine learning as applied to radiology, but it can be expanded to cover digital health generally. The three parts are: what can the industry do, what is helpful to physicians, and is there a business value. Business value doesn’t mean that an innovative product or solution needs to necessarily be profitable on its own legs – the business value can be collecting data or looking at trends.

We’ve seen many industries try to push a product or solution onto a clinician’s workflow that isn’t clinically helpful. I feel strongly about that, and that’s why I try to help vendors make tools that are as useful as possible. Below is a visual representation of the diagram:


Q: What small lifestyle change have you made that’s made a difference for you?
Morning routine. Mine started from Tim Ferriss who wrote The 4 Hour Work Week. It consists of some breathing, some meditation and exercise, reading non-fiction, and a gratitude journal. On March 18th, 2015 I started reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and it reminded me of Tim Ferris and his morning routine, so every single work day since then, I’ve made sure to make time for my morning routine, even if that means getting up before 5:30am. I always fit it in!


The AMA thanks Dr. Ty Vachon for his support of our continued initiative to integrate the clinician voice into solution development, and for his continued engagement with the Physician Innovation Network (PIN). 

Are you interested in being featured in our PIN Point Monthly Member Spotlight? Contact PIN community manager Celine Witherell (celine.witherell@ama-assn.org)