By all measures, the Stanford Biodesign program has been a whopping success. Now in its 15th year, the program has impacted the lives of millions of patients and trained more than 1,000 graduate students and nearly 200 fellows. As my colleague Ruthann Richter recently wrote one mega hit is the ZioPatch, a device that allows physicians to monitor patients with suspected arrhythmia in real time.
In this 1:2:1 podcast, I asked founding director Paul Yock, MD, what’s changed the most since the program’s inception. His one-word response? Affordability. Yock told me that the inventor or every potential dream device now has to answer the question: How will it impact savings in medical costs? There are no pipe dream inventions anymore that aren’t held up to cold hard-core calculations of how that potential technology will drive down health-care costs.
The program has been renamed the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign in recognition of Brook Byers, the noted Silicon Valley venture capitalist and long-time evangelist for the program. It has spawned a sister program in India and more recently another in Japan, and other international ventures and key strategic partnerships are on the horizon.
So what is Paul Yock most proud of? He was reflective and paused for a moment before answering:
I think the scale of the impact that the process has had is way beyond my expectations… But it all comes down to patient care, right? If we do our job right, a lot of patients – millions of people – [will be] impacted with new technologies that can be delivered at a reasonable cost to the system. That’s hugely gratifying.
Previously: “We have been very successful in training high-tech innovators in the last 15 years:” A look at Stanford Biodesign, Using innovation to improve health in the developing world, Stanford-India Biodesign co-founder: “You can become a millionaire, but also make a difference” and The next challenge for biodesign: constraining health-care costs
Photo, of a biodesign lecturer and fellows, by Norbert von der Groeben