Todd Pope

Our guest in this episode is Todd Pope, the President and Chief Executive Officer of TransEnterix, a company that is digitizing the interface between laparoscopic surgeons and patients through the use of their robot. Todd shares some of the ways that robotics are changing the landscape of surgery today, and he explains how technologies such as artificial intelligence and computer vision further enhance these capabilities.

Todd has more than 25 years of experience in key leadership positions within the medical device industry. He was the Worldwide President at Cordis, which is a multibillion-dollar division within Johnson & Johnson’s medical device sector, and he previously held a number of leadership there at Johnson & Johnson as well as Boston Scientific. He was also named as one of Time Magazine's “50 Most Influential People in Healthcare” for 2018.

Are robots really ‘Digital Health'?

When people ask me to define Digital Health I normally include a whole host of products, software and technology – everything from 3D printing and Augmented Reality, through to digital therapeutics and virtual reality. One of the technologies that I include in the list is robotics.

We’re seeing huge leaps in other technologies like AI, computer vision, augmented reality, and as those technologies begin to converge you’ll see even more capabilities being delivered through things like robots. We’re already seeing a boom in consumer robotics around the world. The tech that has transformed manufacturing floors for years is moving well beyond that environment and into places like hotels, bars, and even in homes.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator - Applications are open!

And although robots have been around since well before the term ‘digital health' was coined, their impact on healthcare is at an infancy stage. The robots of today are bigger, have fewer applications, and are far less intelligent than robots will be in 5 to 15 years from now. The same can be said about the improvements to computers and mobile devices – but you didn’t wait to begin using computers 5-15 years ago until the smartphone or tablet computer was invented. You used what was available and increased your dexterity and applications of these machines as the technology changed and improved. So why should the healthcare sector wait 20 years for some future generation of robot, and overlook the capabilities and benefits that robots can deliver today?

Tune into this episode to hear Todd's insights on the ingredients for success in creating robotic technology, and how TransEnterix has addressed the entire value chain that shapes how these important devices can be adapted to fit into the business models and cost constraints of the hospitals that need them. Plus, he shares how other technologies, such as AI and AR, can be incorporated into robots for a more connected and data rich experience in the OR.


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Today's Topics

  • How Todd discovered the opportunities in surgical robotics
  • The key challenges in surgery that robotics can address
  • Balancing the costs and benefits of robotics in healthcare and how these services can be mitigated
  • The growing markets for robotics and how they plan to prioritize sales focus
  • Training requirements and deployment of robots
  • The future for robotics in healthcare as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and computer vision converge with robotic technology

Links and Resources Mentioned

1- What is a saying, quote or phrase that motivates you?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

2- What advice do you have for others working to innovate in healthcare?

There is so much that can be done on the business side of healthcare. So I encourage our best and brightest entrepreneurs to chose healthcare because there is so much that can be improved with our products and services.

3- What book do you recommend to our listeners?

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal

The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease and Optimize Weight by Valter Longo

4- What is a piece of technology that you recommend to our listeners?

Magic Bullet Blender

5- If I gave you a check for $5 million for you to invest in health technology today, how would you invest it?

I would invest it in TransEnterix

6. We make a contribution to a charity in appreciation of your time on the show – what charity have you selected and can you tell us a little about what they do?

Wounded Warrior Project


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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall

ABOUT THE HOST

As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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