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The West Wireless Health Institute has named a longtime Johnson & Johnson executive as its new chief executive.
In an Aug. 15 press release, the San Diego-based organization announced that Nicholas J. Valeriani would take over the newly named West Health Institute. In addition, West Health founders and co-chairs Gary and Mary West announced the launch of the West Health Incubator as the fourth segment of the West Health enterprise, which includes the institute, the Washington D.C.-based West Health Policy Center and the West Health Investment Fund.
A 34-year veteran of Johnson & Johnson, Valeriani served in a number of capacities and "was instrumental in identifying the global healthcare trends that led to the creation of a new wellness and prevention business platform and pioneering opportunities in the area of digital health." He will take over West Health on Sept. 5. He succeeds Donald M. Casey, Jr., the two-year-old organization's first and only chief executive, who resigned on March 16.
“The creation of West Health and appointment of a new leader is an exciting milestone in our evolution to drive the critical changes needed to lower costs in healthcare delivery,” Gary West said in a press release. “We’ve built a revolutionary ecosystem that will lower costs by creating patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time, and Nick’s background and leadership make him the perfect choice to move us forward under the new banner of West Health.”
“I look forward to leading the West Health initiative and the important work being done by the team to address the healthcare cost crisis,” said Valeriani. “West Health and its four entities have tremendous potential to lower the cost of healthcare, and I’m excited to direct this effort.”
In the press release, Gary West said the West Health Incubator would be located in La Jolla, Calif., on the same campus as the institute, and provide "infrastructure, strategic guidance and access to an extensive network of key partners, allowing for the transfer to industry of research technologies developed at the institute and elsewhere."
“Early-stage healthcare companies face multiple challenges in their efforts to develop and deploy innovative technologies,” he said in the release. “By offering both significant intellectual and economic capital through our investment fund, infrastructure through our incubator and access to our network of healthcare partners, we are de-risking technologies and creating a launch pad from which disruptive, cost-lowering technologies can reach the public.”
West said companies interested in joining the incubator must first receive an investment commitment for the West Health Investment Fund.
Regarding the name change, Gary West said it was done to "better reflect the broad work required to lower healthcare costs."
"While wireless plays an important role in lowering costs, it alone will not solve the healthcare cost crisis," he said. "Wireless will remain integral to the work of the West Health Institute as a core competency."
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.
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