Joe Kiani is part of a pretty exclusive club. The founder, CEO and chairman of Masimo Corp. (NDSQ:MASI) built the company up from a start in his garage to a publicly traded company with more than 2,000 employees.
And while that accomplishment alone puts him in the same breath as business legends like Apple’s (NSDQ:AAPL) Steve Jobs or Microsoft’s (NSDQ:MSFT) Bill Gates, Kiani’s contribution to the world of medicine may be even more profound.
Whether it’s helping to revolutionize patient monitoring through Masimo’s breakthrough pulse oximetry technologies, or publicly taking on medical companies’ financial ties to group purchasing organizations, Kiani has worked to make health care safer for all patients.
Kiani, who will be our guest at the MassDevice Big 100 Regional Roundtable West Dec. 12, told us why he loves working in health care and how he got into med-tech in the first place. For the rest of his amazing story, join us in Irvine.
MassDevice: How did you get your start in the medical device space?
Joe Kiani: In the mid-1980s, as a young engineer at a local technology company, I became convinced that the use of adaptive signal processing could solve the problems of motion artifact and signal noise that plagued pulse oximetry – widely recognized as the 5th vital sign – and I set out to do just that.
I founded Masimo in 1989, working out of the garage of my condo in Southern California. I had a lofty goal: To help solve the “unsolvable” problems plaguing patient monitoring, like false pulse oximetry alarms due to motion and low perfusion. There was no shortage of challenges, naysayers, and almost insurmountable obstacles, but I, and we (at Masimo), persevered.
MassDevice: What do you enjoy most about the medical device space?
JK: I enjoy making an impact for patients, advancing health care and helping to improve the quality of patient care.
The best part of my job is when I hear that our engineering breakthroughs have saved lives and changed the outcomes of patients for the better. Whether it’s helping clinicians to dramatically reduce eye damage and blindness from retinopathy of prematurity in preemies, increasing the detection of congenital heart defects in newborns, preventing failure-to-rescue events and patient deaths due to unrecognized deterioration, or detecting life-threatening carbon monoxide poisoning, methemoglobinemia, respiratory distress, and internal bleeding before it becomes critical, Masimo’s innovations are saving lives and helping to transform the practice of medicine in ways most people thought were impossible.
Seeing these accomplishments come to life is the absolute best part of my job.
MassDevice: Why is this industry a good fit for you?
JK: As the son of an electrical engineer (my dad) and a nurse (my mom), my passion and inspiration for engineering and medical technology came naturally.
I grew up with a strong sense of curiosity, a passion for mathematics and a great ability to look beyond what others think is possible to bring impossible solutions to life. These qualities were cultivated in me, first by my parents and then reinforced by my education and training as an engineer, where I was drawn to solving the most complex engineering challenges and problems. I chose medical technology as a career because I wanted to make a contribution to society by helping people to live better lives and thrive in good health.