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Our 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators of 2015

2. Elizabeth Asai

Student ProjectsFor Elizabeth Asai, the term “female CEO” is like nails on a chalkboard. She admits that she faces less gender-based bias than age-based skepticism. But as the CEO of 3Derm, a skin imaging system that allows for clinical-quality remote 3D skin imaging, Asai has seemingly risen above these hurdles. “We try to combine the best of both worlds,” she says. “We breathe the modern design in our rapid prototyping world, yet we’ve trained ourselves to think like our traditional customers, too.”

It’s paying off: under Asai’s leadership, 3Derm won the HealthBox Boston Innovator’s Award and raised over $400k in grants. This non-dilutive funding allowed 3Derm to pay for high-class engineering – and ramen packets – while building a track record of resourcefulness and attracting new customers. Now, Asai is excited about the value-based payment structures that will reward primary care physicians. “It’s opening the door to new devices, diagnostics, and software that had no place in the traditional CPT world, but now have very real value propositions on the cost-savings side,” she says.

Asai’s main advice is to spend time understanding why the current system works, in spite of its holes, before crusading disruption. “Most business cards we collect still have fax numbers,” she says. “And it’s easy for 20-something entrepreneurs to snicker at that.” She also recommends talking to customers early and often, as well as getting the validation needed from key partners.

Shreya Iyer

Shreya Iyer

Shreya specializes in health communications and is a copywriter for an advertising agency. She was previously at Bayer Healthcare, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

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