The prevalence of women in corporate leadership positions within the medical device industry remains low, and the rate of increase is stagnant despite new initiatives to increase diversity in the industry. U.S. women in Medtech trail behind their male peers in leadership positions. U.S. women in all S&P 500 companies hold almost 45% of all professional-level jobs, and 26.5% have achieved executive/senior-level management jobs. Not so in Medtech.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), women account for 70% of the global healthcare sector. However, at the executive level, women make up less than 25% of healthcare leadership positions.
We face a gender imbalance of women in top healthcare roles. According to an analysis of Medical Design & Outsourcing‘s annual Big 100 breakdown of the top revenue-generating medical device companies in the world, just 21% of top executives at the world’s 100 world’s biggest medical device companies are women.
The analysis involved observing who shows up on the leadership pages on the corporations’ websites. While the overall number of women executives on such pages was up 1 percentage point from 2020, the average percentage of women in Medtech companies’ top executive ranks remains unchanged from 2020 at 19%.
Women constitute half of the population. We must promote a more gender-balanced workforce that is more representative of this huge female population.
CIOBulletin recently spoke with Abhita Batra, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at neuro42, on how women leaders are changing, influencing, and revolutionizing the medical device industry.
Portable, low-field MRIs can help assess brain injuries at the bedside of critically ill patients. The portability of this device is a benefit, given that the extremely contagious nature of COVID-19 can impose significant impediments to maneuvering critically ill patients within the hospital and decontaminating conventional imaging suites.
Imaging technologies have significantly improved over the past few decades and play a critical role in the diagnosis and management of patients with neurological conditions. With the evolution of these technologies to portable versions, significant implications exist for current neurological care as well as potential improvements for the future.
neuro42 produces some of the most innovative portable imaging devices on the market. neuro42 Inc. is a Medtech company advancing futuristic technologies for diagnosis, screening, and targeted treatment of neurological conditions. The company is developing and commercializing a portable MRI, robotic, and AI platform and is backed by over 30 patents, for point-of-care imaging and interventions under live image guidance.
The following excerpts are taken from a conversation with Abhita Batra, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at neuro42
Can you tell us about neuro42 and why the company was founded?
neuro42 is a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of a portable, interventional MRI, MR compatible robot, and AI platform for neuro interventions. We’re proud to be aligned with some of the brightest minds in health care and Medtech. Ultimately, we hope to help physicians triage patients and perform interventions for brain diseases and injuries in a more effective and patient-centered manner.
What role does neuro42 play in the portable medical equipment sector?
I would say we play the role of the disruptors, given the fact that our focus is elevating the diagnosis and treatment outcomes for neurological conditions using our AI-driven, portable MRI and robotic platform.
Every aspect of our technology, including the design of the actual system, was created with patients and providers top of mind. One example of that is how when undergoing a scan with our technology, patients don’t experience claustrophobia or hear the same loud knocking sounds associated with traditional MRI scans. That reduction in anxiety and enhancement of experience is a positive for everyone involved.
While we’ve gotten very positive feedback from all the providers we’ve spoken to, neurosurgeons are some of the most excited about what the technology can do for them. Because we are a low-field MRI scanner, we can be flexible and adaptable, incorporating robotics and artificial intelligence into the mix for more precise interventions. When it comes to the head and brain, you simply can’t be accurate enough.
We’re also unique in that our technology facilitates more than just an image. For example, we can be used intraoperatively for confirmations during and after brain tumor resection.
According to you, what is the skill set of an effective leader?
In my opinion, an effective leader must balance IQ and EQ. As a leader, you must be pragmatic; But you also need to remember that your attitude and performance sets the tone for the entire team to follow, so if you don´t do a good job at fostering a healthy work environment and keeping team morale high you will most likely encounter many difficulties on the daily operations of your company or organization. Leaders must also be great communicators and naturally driven achievers and in my opinion, they have to be the type of people that simply refuse to give up, no matter how difficult achieving a goal might seem.
Can you tell us about your journey with neuro42? How have you grown professionally in your time at neuro42?
I have been very fortunate because I´ve been able to dedicate my time and energy to the pursuit of scientific and medical solutions to some of the most complex problems that we face today, and this is my passion. I also have a background in fundraising which has allowed me to scale different ventures rather quickly, accelerating research and development timelines and ultimately making new medical technologies available for more people, faster than otherwise would have been possible.
When it comes to neuro42, I can tell you that our mission is to revolutionize MRI technology by integrating artificial intelligence and robotics as well as a portable, point-of-care scanner that will enable physicians to access live imaging during neurosurgical interventions.
What is your brand of leadership?
I would say inclusive and empathetic. No matter how packed my schedule might get, I always take the time to listen to our team members and address any concerns they might have, analyze the ideas they share with me and provide feedback and focus on providing positive reinforcements when necessary. I believe that organizational culture is one of the most important aspects of any company and its’ success.
A leader is like a lighthouse on the coast for lost ships. How have you, as a leader, been able to help your team members overcome obstacles and find success?
Well, I think the main way I have been able to help our team members overcome obstacles and find success is by letting them know that I am always available and ready to help them figure out the best solution to a problem, no matter what that might be. I also consider myself a strategic thinker by nature, which is something that I believe to be very useful in certain cases where a particular individual within our company might be struggling to successfully approach and conquer a given set of challenges, as the old saying goes: “two heads are better than one.”
You must have faced scenarios in your life and met people who have helped you become the leader you are today. Can you tell us a few of these memorable moments of your life?
Absolutely. Having been involved in the business world from a young age, I always looked up to my parents who through their dedication and hard work built successful businesses in the pharmaceutical space. I was always keen on learning the operational aspects of their endeavors, but also the human components as well as the financial planning and organization required to scale businesses from regional to national and international levels; all key factors of well-rounded leadership in the corporate world. I do believe this early exposure to the challenges and rewards that come with C-suite positions with global exposure shaped my entire perception of what my life could and should be like.
What goals are you looking to accomplish in the future?
We envision neuro42 becoming the new standard in interventional MRI technology in the near future, not only because of the clear advantages that it provides to physicians looking for increased levels of certainty but also because of the myriad ways in which patient experience will be improved. Ultimately, providing cutting-edge tools that help neurosurgeons save lives through accurate diagnosis and improved treatment outcomes is what we are all about.
Delivering breakthroughs in the medical imaging space with portable, low-field MRI scanners
Abhita Batra is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at neuro42. She is a serial entrepreneur, business strategist, and advisor to several healthcare and technology startups. She is the CEO and Director at Otomagnetics, a company developing a first-of-its-kind drug delivery platform. Abhita is the Founder and Managing Director of Advanced Biopharma Consulting, a strategic advisory firm that offers business development and commercialization services to life science companies. She is a Director at Admac Group of Companies, wherein she manages a product portfolio encompassing 150 generics. She is a co-founder and former COO of Navya, a biotechnology company developing and commercializing PHF for the destruction of solid tumors.
Abhita completed her Global MBA at UCLA Anderson and NUS and has a Masters in Biotechnology with a specialization in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania.
“The next evolution of MRI and robotics.”