Stanford Dropout Elizabeth Holmes Is About To Change Healthcare Forever
This is amazingly cool:
Phlebotomy. Even the word sounds archaic—and that’s nothing compared to the slow, expensive, and inefficient reality of drawing blood and having it tested. As a college sophomore, Elizabeth Holmes envisioned a way to reinvent old-fashioned phlebotomy and, in the process, usher in an era of comprehensive superfast diagnosis and preventive medicine.
That was a decade ago. Holmes, now 30, dropped out of Stanford and founded a company called Theranos with her tuition money. Last fall it finally introduced its radical blood-testing service in a Walgreens pharmacy near company headquarters in Palo Alto, California. (The plan is to roll out testing centers nationwide.) Instead of vials of blood—one for every test needed—Theranos requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood. With that they can perform hundreds of tests, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. The results are faster, more accurate, and far cheaper than conventional methods.
The implications are mind-blowing. With inexpensive and easy access to the information running through their veins, people will have an unprecedented window on their own health. And a new generation of diagnostic tests could allow them to head off serious afflictions from cancer to diabetes to heart disease.
None of this would work if Theranos hadn’t figured out how to make testing transparent and inexpensive. The company plans to charge less than 50 percent of the standard Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. And unlike the rest of the testing industry, Theranos lists its prices on its website: blood typing, $2.05; cholesterol, $2.99; iron, $4.45. If all tests in the US were performed at those kinds of prices, the company says, it could save Medicare $98 billion and Medicaid $104 billion over the next decade.
how cool! those costs are amazingly low. and everyone prefers a pin prick to a big needle.
"stanford dropout" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? my brother was considering dropping out to pursue his career sooner, but it wouldn't result in tuition money in his pocket, so i think he'll stick it out. :)
In his case then it makes sense to stay for the full degree.
What's amazing about Elizabeth Holmes is that she was 19 when she decided there had to be a better way, and she was going to figure it out. She has such grit and determination. And you're right, she found a better way that is both much cheaper and much less unpleasant for people getting blood work.
I love stories of people who do this sort of thing - take a chance and really make a difference. Many people have dropped out of college to start companies (Bill, Steve, etc.), but not everyone does it to directly better the lives of others. Elizabeth did, and that's pretty cool.
She's unusual among dropouts -- I don't hear many stories like this.
saving medicare $65,000,000,000 and saving medicaid $90,000,000,000 over the next ten years!
Those are such grandiose numbers I did a double take.
"It is a basic human right to get tested and have access to that information."
Who IS this woman?! She's amazing!
she is a good person doing her best job and following her heart.
adam, go find her for us! knowing you, you'll be her friend next week!
Would you believe I don't know anyone who knows her, even though we've both lived in Palo Alto for more than a decade?
It's not a small world after all.
Featured in the New Yorker: