This is the first in a series of CEO short interviews about their views on their company, the digital pathology market, lessons learned and perhaps a little insight into their business principles. My personal thanks to Mr. Sanan and the Inspirata team for their time and efforts to kick off this series.
What is your vision for your company?
Inspirata’s vision is to have a global impact on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer by identifying the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.
In what ways is the digital pathology market unique from other industries you have worked in?
The digital pathology industry offers tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of cancer patients because it can reduce the time it takes to get their diagnosis, enable them to share their digital images for second opinions and improve the efficiency of pathologists so they can handle more cases. It’s an exciting industry to be in because it holds such great promise to be both innovative and disruptive, enabling companies like Inspirata to “do good” and “do well” simultaneously. When what you do helps to improve people’s lives (do good) and makes money in the process (do well), success is usually the result.
How is it similar?
The digital pathology industry is similar to the technology industry where I worked before because it involves innovation and disruption, but it is dissimilar in that it has so much potential to have a positive impact on improving patient lives and reducing healthcare costs.
What does the digital pathology market look like in 2016?
While I think the digital pathology market will be better in 2016 than it was in 2015, I believe it will still struggle to achieve the level of adoption necessary to have a widespread impact on the lives patients and to bear out proof of the efficiency gains that can be realized at cancer centers. That said, I think Inspirata’s business model removes the business risks for cancer centers and sets them up to be ahead of their peers by the time the FDA approves digital pathology for primary diagnosis. I think the journey to adoption will gain traction in 2016.
What challenges remain for digital pathology adoption?
I see four primary challenges remaining for digital pathology adoption. We need for the FDA to approve the use of digital images for primary diagnosis; we need the current reimbursement model to be modified; we need further scanning technology advancements; and we need to overcome interoperability issues.
What have you learned from working in this space that you did not anticipate when you started?
- I didn’t anticipate the vendor community’s seeming inability to work together for the overall good of the industry and the common goal of rapid adoption.
- I didn’t anticipate the institutions’ singular focus on ROI within the pathology department rather than acknowledging the overall positive economic impact digital pathology can have across the entire cancer center through diagnosis, prevention, treatment and follow-up care.
What one question do you ask everyone you interview?
The one thing I try to elicit of every candidate I interview is their level of commitment, dedication and loyalty.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
Describe the top of your desk.
Cooperation is the opposite of what I said earlier about the vendor community in this industry, i.e., it’s the ability of a number of entities to work together for a common goal and put aside individual biases.
What do you consider your greatest personal or professional success?
My greatest professional success was founding and growing IMRglobal into a multi-national, publically traded company. My greatest personal success is shared with my wife Anne and it was raising our three children to be successful adults who are leaders in their chosen fields and positive influences in their communities.
What was your college major?
My college major was Computer Science.
If you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive, who would you invite? What would you cook?
The three people I would invite to dinner would be Mahatma Gandhi who I would serve a meal of dal and roti; Jack Welch who I would serve a meal of steak and lobster; and the Dalai Lama who I would serve a vegetarian meal.