On NPR’s Morning Edition today, John Ydstie again reported on our inaugural product, the CS10 personal sound amplifier, and the impact it’s having on how moderate hearing loss is treated in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve posted an excerpt below.
“One Man’s Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All” by John Ydstie
David Green is a man on a mission to drive down the cost of medical devices and health services.
His tactic: Use market forces and slightly tweaked business strategies to make health care accessible to even the poorest people. And he’s had some amazing success.
I caught up with Green (no relation to NPR’s David Greene) at a company he is launching in Chicago that’s taking on the high cost of hearing aids. He’s demonstrating how to program his company’s new hearing device on a cellphone.
“So I’m putting the device on my ear, and I’m turning on my Bluetooth enabled phone,” he says. “I click personalize on the phone and I start the hearing test. And right now I’m hearing tones and I’m clicking a box.”
It must be the smallest Bluetooth earpiece available — about the size of your thumbnail. He has helped create Sound World Solutions to market a new high-quality hearing device developed by his partner, Stavros Basseas.
The device, which we reported on yesterday, will be sold in the U.S. But the main market will be in developing countries, where it will sell for a couple of hundred dollars — a fraction of the cost of high-end hearing aids. One reason it’s so cheap is that it’s based on off-the-self Bluetooth components.
Green says his strategy is to minimize the cost of technology, production, and distribution so he can push prices to the lowest possible level and force other companies to compete.
“My competitive juices get flowing when I start to think about a big, $4 billion medical device company and how I’m going to beat them,” Green says. “How do we make sight and hearing or even life itself affordable to poor people?”