Former Eli Lily exec Alex Azar rumoured to be selected for HHS secretary post
It has been reported that President Donald Trump is set to appoint former Eli Lily exec Alex Azar to lead the US Department of Health (DoH) and Human Services.
Serving as President of Lilly USA LLC from 2012 up to the beginning of 2017 and producing over $8.5bn in revenue, Azar has extensive experience in governmental affairs surrounding the US healthcare sector in both the public and private sector.
Additionally, for two years he has worked as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), under President Bush, but has also gained in-depth knowledge and international experience surrounding the pharmaceutical and medical field throughout his career.
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A lawyer by training, Azar is a strong candidate for the role, where he would be responsible for the transformation of the US’ healthcare systems following Trump’s dismantling of Obamacare and ambitions to try and revise the terms surrounding the Affordable Care Act for US citizens. He would take over from previous secretary Tom Price’s resignation.
George W. Bush’s HHS secretary Michael Leavitt informed Bloomberg: “He understands health care, he understands the regulatory process, and he’s skilled in his management. He’d be an able pilot.”
Azar’s knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry will prove vital surrounding the delivery of healthcare for US citizens, the pricing of branded and non-prescription drugs and how the industry is set to transform its service delivery in the face of rising competition and the digitisation of traditional processes.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.