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The West Wireless Health Institute is looking for a new CEO, following the departure this past week of Donald M. Casey Jr.
Casey had served as the San Diego-based group’s first and only CEO for the past two years. He announced his resignation on March 16 in anticipation of accepting a position with a large healthcare company.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Gary and Mary West and the entire West Health team to build an outstanding organization,” Casey said in a press release. “All of America should be grateful to Gary and Mary for their commitment to lowering the cost of healthcare in this country. In my new role, I will focus on bringing novel, cost-effective solutions to the healthcare marketplace, so I am pleased to be carrying on the important work of West Health.”
“I am deeply committed to lowering the cost of healthcare,” he added. “My tenure as CEO of this one-of-a-kind institute has provided me a unique opportunity to dive into this national issue in great depth and has strengthened my belief in the institute’s important mission. I look forward to bringing to the business community a fresh perspective on providing cost-effective healthcare solutions to the public.”
During last December’s mHealth Summit in Washington D.C., Casey spoke about the promise of mHealth in driving down healthcare costs.
“We think mHealth will be transformative in this country’s ability to get our healthcare system reworked to the point where we’re going to be able to deliver comparable outcomes at a dramatically lower cost,” he said. “If you can cut the $2 trillion to $3 trillion a year that the United States spends on healthcare by 5 percent, that is an enormous amount of money. If mHealth is successful, we think it could save the system hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.”
“The second dimension you want to look at is this: Is it a real business? Are people going to get into the business of mHealth? We think today it is a $1 billion business across a number of different categories. We think it will grow tenfold between now and 2020,” he added.
“mHealth is interactive,” Casey concluded. “If you feel you are participating in your healthcare and it is being done at a time that works for you, and it is personalized, we think that is a much better system.”
Launched in 2009 by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the independent non-profit medical research organization “is dedicated to innovating, validating and advocating for the use of technologies including wireless medical devices to transform medicine,” according to the organization’s website. The institute has grown in two years, officials say, from roughly six full-time employees to more than 70, and includes physicians, software experts, financial analysts and others.
Among those projects is the Sense4Baby wireless fetal monitor pilot research study, which the institute recently launched with the Carlos Slim Health Institute in Mexico. In addition, during the past year the institute has launched the West Health Policy Center and sponsored the Care Innovation Summit in Washington D.C. with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The institute’s Wireless Health Council has also unveiled a reference architecture designed to make a medical-grade wireless utility available at no cost to healthcare providers in the United States.
The Gary and Mary West Foundation was founded in 2006 by the West Foundation, an Omaha, Neb.-based developer of customer relationship management solutions, and is focused on wireless health, aging-in-place initiatives, workforce development and service animals.
“We believe that the cost of healthcare is the most pressing issue facing the country today,” said Gary West, the WWLI’s founder and chairman, in the press release. “Throughout Don’s tenure over the course of the last two years, we have built an effective and capable organization at the institute, including the recruitment of a world-class management team. We have also launched related organizations, including the West Health Policy Center and the West Health Investment Fund, all aimed at lowering the cost of healthcare. We are grateful for Don’s service during this foundational period.”
“In addition to our top-notch management team, we have an outstanding board of directors and have already initiated a search for a new CEO. Based on the enthusiasm and caliber of our top candidates thus far for this position, we have no doubt this is one of the premier jobs in the healthcare sector. We are optimistic that an exceptional successor will be named soon,” he added. “While we of course would have preferred not to lose Don, we are heartened that his experience with us in creating and promoting low cost healthcare solutions will help to influence the decision-making of a major healthcare company and catalyze the industry’s focus on the urgency of the cost problem.”
Casey, who’d brought 25 years of global healthcare experience to the WWLI when he joined two years ago, will keep his seat on the institute’s board of directors, which includes Gary West; Eric J. Topol, MD, director of the Scripps Translational Service Institute and a noted speaker at several healthcare conferences; Jim Hasson, a partner with the law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and Charles Sederstrom, who is general counsel to the Nebraska-based Alegent Health system.
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