12 June 2019

Detected #2: by Mark-Jan

Theranos - a cautionary tale for medical devices companies

Recently I read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou about the blood-testing start-up Theranos. It describes the terrifying history of this company that imploded in 2018 after this book exposed the manipulation of staff, investors, customers and regulators by founder Elizabeth Holmes.

As the CEO of a medical device company I was dumbstruck by the casual attitude towards patient safety that was evident throughout the story. Pretty much every time we consider a new product feature at Aidence, one of the first questions we ask ourselves is how this will affect the potential risk to patients. I make a point of instilling that mentality in our culture, so everyone in the company feels that responsibility towards our users, radiologists, and their patients. The Theranos story is a shocking example of what can go wrong if a medical device company is driven by financial returns and loses sight of what impact its product has on people’s lives.

If you prefer watching over reading, check out the documentary The Inventor or wait for the upcoming movie starring Jennifer Lawrence.