Early diagnosis helps save lives. The MedTech industry has been making strides in developing increasingly effective tools and techniques to assist healthcare practitioners in making better diagnoses and saving lives in the process.
One of the companies whose products are making a difference every day is Carestream Health Inc. Carestream Health is a worldwide imaging company. It provides digital X-ray products and X-ray film for the medical and non-destructive testing market worldwide. It also provides technical and service support, including remote equipment and software management services. In addition, the company owns over 1,000 patents in digital imaging, film, and imaging chemistry.
David C. Westgate, Chairman, President and CEO of Carestream Health is a leader with a very diverse portfolio having experience across several industries and having held a variety of roles in a business vertical. He is a go-getter executive who doesn’t wait for opportunities to fall into his lap but instead focuses on remaining ahead of the technological trends and industry curves.
In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, David shares his insights to serving healthcare providers globally in support of Carestream’s mission to diagnose and treat patients more efficiently.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Briefly describe your professional journey up until now.
I have been fortunate in that my professional career has allowed me to work in many industries and a variety of roles. I entered the workforce at Rockwell focusing on engineering, operations, and quality, leading to the first 25 years of my career in the automotive industry where customer focus and execution were the imperatives.
This allowed me to then progress into diversified industries and I have been able to apply those experiences to benefit my role in the healthcare industry. I have had the opportunity to be an executive leader as CEO of global businesses for the last 25 years.
What challenges did you face along the way?
I’ve had the opportunity to be in businesses with tremendous growth and also businesses that require restructuring of costs. Both have their own set of challenges; the key is to be completely transparent with the organization to align with the direction required. I learned how to lead organizations in a very nimble way to adapt to market realities and adjust in real-time.
What significant impact have you brought to the MedTech industry?
Carestream is passionately committed to delivering solutions that help our customers in medical imaging do their work more efficiently, improve clinical outcomes, and lower the costs of healthcare. By applying our insights and experience, we develop Ideas That Clearly Work.
Carestream is one of the top global providers of digital radiography (DR) and computed radiography (CR) systems with a track record for innovation. This includes advanced, wireless CARESTREAM DR detectors that feature the X-Factor, making them compatible and shareable across all our DRX equipment; our DRX-Revolution Mobile System that introduced the industry’s first collapsible column; our state-of-the-art, glass-free Lux 35 Detector; and our AI-powered software platform.
What methodologies do you implement that contribute to new growth opportunities?
We don’t wait for opportunities to appear. We work hard to stay ahead of technology innovation with our research and development, like leveraging artificial intelligence to elevate our imaging solutions. We seek out mutually beneficial relationships with dealers to deliver our products to markets we couldn’t reach cost-effectively. We tailor our products to the markets in recognition that different markets are at distinct stages with unique needs.
Tell us about Carestream Health Inc. and its foundation pillar.
Carestream is a leading supplier of solutions for digital medical imaging. We develop solutions that help our customers in three fundamental and critical areas: enhancing the user and patient experience; improving clinical outcomes; and reducing the overall costs of healthcare.
Carestream Health is a dynamic global company with over 100 years of leadership in imaging systems and services. Our focus on helping our healthcare customers improve patient care has resulted in many innovations and earned more than 1,000 patents worldwide. Our industry firsts include:
- Initial patent for CR imaging plates
- First DR detector
- First mobile DR system with a collapsible column
- First digital dental detector
- A glass-free DR detector
What change would you like to bring to the MedTech industry if given a chance?
Assisting healthcare providers in the efficient diagnosing and treatment of their patients is important to Carestream and our mission. In support of that, any changes we can make to improve image quality at a lower cost would be a significant improvement to the industry.
What will be the next significant change in the MedTech industry, and how are you preparing for it?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of healthcare on several fronts. Specific to medical imaging, we are applying AI in two critical areas that have the potential to benefit patients and healthcare providers. The first is improving image quality to help improve clinical outcomes. Our AI image process software increases the diagnostic quality of medical images so that radiologists have the information they need to make a confident diagnosis.
This is where colleges with a radiology program can play a crucial role in training the next generation of professionals who will use cutting-edge technologies like AI image processing software to improve patient care.
The second area is improving the process of image capture. That has several important benefits. For one, mistakes can be made in the image capture process for several reasons, including incorrect positioning of the patient and/or the system. We apply automation and intelligence to the image capture process to help staff get the best possible image the first time – so that patients don’t need to undergo unnecessary exposure for retakes.
Another benefit of automation is that it helps reduce the heavy workload of the radiology department. And lastly, automation makes the process more efficient. This gets diagnostic images into the hands of radiologists and physicians as quickly as possible so that they can begin a course of treatment for their patients.
Overall, we are leveraging AI to enhance clinical outcomes, reduce overall costs for our customers, and make imaging equipment easier to use – and the applications of AI in medical imaging will continue to evolve.
What are your goals in the upcoming future?
Carestream’s goal is to continue delivering high-quality products and services through innovation and engaged employees driving operational efficiency. With the global economy still feeling the effects of the pandemic, we are committed to remaining a viable organization with an eye toward possibilities.
What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring business leaders?
Regardless of industry, the most important aspect of any business is having in-depth knowledge of your customer, the markets, and your own business. Understand your competitive advantage and deliver a solution that improves the lives of your customers and their patients. Understanding your finances and having a strong financial partner are also key to being successful.
Achieving success also requires multiple leadership traits. You need to have a customer-first mentality, both internally and externally. Acting quickly with data-driven decisions is essential to responding to the dynamic needs of your customers and the market. And above all, doing the right things the right way is critical to establishing a reputation of quality, care, and integrity.