Disrupting Medicine is No Walk In The Park

We asked DiffMed's speakers to send teasers of their talk before the conference. Here is a enlightening piece by Sacha Loiseau, CEO & founder of Mauna Kea Technologies, about the realities of embarking in the disruption of heathcare.   

Disrupting medicine is possibly the only way to save any form of socialized healthcare systems. However, like so many forms of organizations, the healthcare systems and medical communities are by and large designed to resist change as much as possible. Disruptive innovations that not only improve patient care and outcomes but can also save unnecessary procedures, cost and lives have a harder time reaching widespread adoption than before.


Entrepreneurs embarking on the extremely rewarding task of disrupting medicine, whether through better technologies, apps or services, have to know what's ahead and get ready for what Ben Horowitz calls "The Struggle" in “The Hard Thing about Hard Things”. This important book's subtitle, “building a business when there is no easy answer” is the underlying truth to any disruptive tech company but holds even more weight for healthcare entrepreneurs.


Designing products, apps or services; finding the right procedures or services to target; picking the right countries to start in; evangelizing early adopters; befriending the so-called Key Opinion Leaders; getting support from medical societies; designing clinical trials; understanding reimbursement and building outcomes-related clinical results; deciding whether to commercialize and where; installing and maintaining a Quality Management System that can withstand inspections and internal divergence; obtaining regulatory approvals in key markets; designing a publication strategy and executing on it; hiring the right people: these are but a few of the challenges ahead that will require not only raising enormous amounts of money but also being supported and advised by smart, experienced and well-intended people.

The Struggle is where Greatness comes from.

Through my own experience with Mauna Kea Technologies and the advent of Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy (CLE), our unique technology with the potential to pervasively disrupt practices, I will try to present real life examples of how saving money for the healthcare system opposes basic motivations from providers in a fee-for-service system; how academic KOLs often fail to follow-through on proven technologies that improve care; how so-called authorities may be driven by motives other than improving care and reducing costs; how organizations with misaligned incentives can make huge hiring mistakes that can lead to durable downturns; how turning around is always possible, why most people are not strong enough and how, in the end, the Struggle is where Greatness comes from.