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Ask Stanford Med: Stefanos Zenios taking questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship

Ask Stanford Med: Stefanos Zenios taking questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship

Later this month, business and government leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and students will gather at Stanford for the 2012 Healthcare Innovation Summit to examine the forces shaping the future of health care and discuss practical solutions to some of our toughest health-care problems.

The event will be held on April 25 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Panel sessions will explore topics such as the challenges and opportunities created by health-care reform, how to operationalize the promise of genomics and the idea of applying user-centered design to improve the impact and scale of new health-care products and services.

To get the discussion started in anticipation of the conference, we’ve asked Stefanos Zenios, PhD, faculty organizer of the summit, to respond to your questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship.

An expert on innovation, Zenios is the founding director of the business school’s new Program in Healthcare Innovation. He is the lead author of Biodesign: The Process of Innovating Medical Technologies, a widely praised textbook on the entrepreneurial process for medical devices, and a co-founder of, a suite of interactive guides for patients considering complex medical treatments such as kidney transplant

Questions can be submitted to Zenios by either sending a tweet that includes the hashtag #AskSUMed or posting your question in the comments section below. We’ll collect questions until April 13 at 5 pm. In submitting questions, please abide by the following ground rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful to the person answering your questions
  • Be respectful to one another in submitting questions
  • Do not monopolize the conversation or post the same question repeatedly
  • Kindly ignore disrespectful or off topic comments
  • Twitter handles and/or names may be used in the responses

Zenios will respond to a selection of the questions submitted, but not all of them, in a future Q&A published on Scope.

Previous Q&As from the Ask Stanford Med series are available in the Ask Stanford Med category.

9 Responses to “ Ask Stanford Med: Stefanos Zenios taking questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship ”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Dr. Zenios, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. For the junior doctor with one (or more!) practical solutions to clinical problems – solutions which could lead to independent businesses in and of themselves – what advice would you give?

  2. civisisus Says:

    observers tend to think of device makers as transactional, thus very satisfied with current fee-for-service incentives (more transactions, more devices, more revenues/profits).

    Can you provide examples of devicemakers (or processes investors in device innovations might use) to identify device opportunities that can deliver health care value instead?

  3. Graeme Says:

    Prof. Zenios: As the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise, how can the biodesign process be modified to develop devices that can be used in low-resource healthcare settings such as public hospitals and clinics?

  4. Nick Dawson Says:

    Dr. Zenios,
    First, kudos on this forum – what a great way to connect.

    You touch on two ideas which are both inherently tied and simultaneously juxtaposed: user-centered design and genomics.

    Certainly, genomics are very personal – it’s quite literally our source code. On the other hand, there seems to be a stigma about genetic profiling. Sometimes that stigma is in the form of fear of how the information would be used; other times it may be a fear of what the data will reveal. We see those fears manifest in the form of popular fiction like the movie Gatica or more pragmatically in skepticism about care rationing or insurance company manipulation (both of which may, in fact be valuable uses).

    How would you suggest providers help patients reconcile that conflict? If user-centered design is focused on the needs – even those unexpressed – of the end user (patients), how can providers use genomics in practice in a way which has the patient’s interest in mind?

    Put in the context of emotional decision making, how can genomics create a empathetic bond between providers and provide happiness to the patient? We are often willing to make trades for value, particularly when that value is happiness. For instance, people will give up location and privacy data in exchange for an iPhone with Facebook. Is there an analogue in genomics and health care?

  5. Ed Forman Says:

    What incentives be put in place to increase utilization of very expensive diagnostic equipment to diminish capital investment and (hopefully) reduce cost per procedure? Why aren’t these units used in the US virtually 7*24 as they are used elsewhere in the world?

    If the cost per procedure for cat scans and MRIs came down significantly, would it make economic sense to use these technologies more widely to reduce total treatment cost and reduce opportunity cost of delays in diagnosis and treatment?

  6. David Kohls Says:

    Mandated standards have enabled cost reduction in many fields by allowing buyers to chose between established and new market entrants with less switching costs. Is there any effort to create a US standard electronic medical record?

    The inherent challenges related to HIPPA and synchronizing with coding and billing systems make this a non-trivial exercize, yet the potential to reduce health care cost is very large.

  7. John Says:

    Why are emergency rooms so expensive? They are highly utilized, so it would appear that fixed costs should be spread over many users. And, if urgent care facilities are so much more cost effective, why not just put them next to each emergency room and refer the patients to them?

  8. Allison Davis, GSB MBA Admissions Says:

    Our prospective applicants often ask about the different teaching methods that our faculty use and why they use them. Biodesign Innovation is a heavily hands-on course while in Innovation and Management in Health Care, you also use cases and lectures. Could you please comment on the different methods you use, and why you use them.

  9. John Stafford Says:

    Thank you all for the great questions. Professor Zenios will respond to a selection in an upcoming Scope entry.


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