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HL20: David Green—Disruptive Innovator Touches Millions of Lives

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, November 25, 2013

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of David Green.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"They're marching to your doorstep because of accessibility and quality, and again, that's what changed the competitive landscape."

David Green might be the most disruptive force in medical devices today.
Green's startup companies are disrupting the high-end hearing-aid market and the intraocular-lens market for correcting the vision of cataract patients.

The truest form of Green's disruptive thinking is the way he proved it could be done profitably with broad implications for making medical devices more affordable for people who cannot afford them.

Green's achievements, featured on National Public Radio and elsewhere, originated in developing countries but are now coming to his native United States.

"I'm helping to set up an eye hospital in San Francisco that will take what we've learned in emerging markets and transfer it here to create a revenue model where the enterprise uses its profit and production capacity to serve uninsured Medi-Cal dual-eligible and undocumented" patients, Green says.

The story begins in 1992 when Green started Aurolab, a company dedicated to making price-busting intraocular lenses, sutures, and pharmaceuticals. The artificial lenses implanted during cataract surgery then cost $300. Countries such as India performed only 800,000 cataract surgeries annually. Working with Aravind Hospital in India, Aurolab initially offered a $10 artificial lens, and India's implant volume skyrocketed to 5 million in 2001. Today, the average price of the same implant is $3 to $4 and can be as low as $2.

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