Alumni Healthcare Leaders: Dave Busch

By Jasmine France and Jody Ulate


The nation’s complex and hotly debated healthcare system affects us all. Washington Square wanted to hear from alumni insiders who are shaping the industry—from hospitals and biotech companies to medical devices and research and development.

Here is our full conversation with Dave Busch, ’74 Production Management,​ vice president of medical at NEO Technology Solutions. Read Q&As with all 10 alumni healthcare leaders.


Why SJSU?

The business and engineering schools were well-rated and the school was in the epicenter of the valley’s transformation from a defense valley to the Silicon Valley.

Why did you choose that major?

It seemed to be a good blend of the disciplines that an executive in an engineering/manufacturing company would need.

Did you work while at SJSU?

I worked part-time at a medical device startup.

What would you want people to know about SJSU?

It’s a peer with the region’s other great schools.

Tell us about NEO Technology Solutions and what you do there.

NEO Tech Solutions is a contract manufacturer of high-end industrial devices. I run the medical business, aligning resources and making sure we have everything customers need to build their devices. We make a lot of ophthalmological devices.

What inspired you to work in healthcare?

The idea of applying technology to healthcare problems was compelling and became even more so when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. The field continues to be inspiring. Building a device that removes cataracts is amazing, because in 20 seconds or so, you can complete the procedure. And it’s 100 percent successful. Bringing sight to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it is incredible. All of these devices are breakthrough, game-changers that are allowing more people better healthcare, ultimately helping them live more productive and fulfilling lives.

What is the biggest challenge with U.S. healthcare today?

There’s good work that’s being done, but it doesn’t get propagated quickly enough. We have some unrealistic expectations of what healthcare can do for us. We need to think about how to cost effectively increase productivity, while improving patient outcomes in less time.

What does the healthcare industry need most from academic partners who are training the next generation of innovators?

Most of the young medical device entrepreneurs we work with need help with their problem statement. More often than not, they’ve developed some technology whose benefits are unclear. Another struggle is understanding the regulatory requirements that are the basis of a medical device. Part of an engineering or business curriculum must address these deficiencies.

What do you look for when hiring new people?

Assuming all the other required attributes are met, we look for a solid understanding of the standards and the regulations.

How did SJSU prepare you for your career and your current role?

School shouldn’t be viewed as a prerequisite for a specific job or career, but rather a basis for a student’s “learning model.” SJSU helped me to learn how to learn.

What should everyone know about healthcare?

The rapid advances in devices and pharmaceuticals means that you the consumer of the product healthcare needs to stay abreast of trends. In the end, the decision for treatments from a headache to a brain tumor resection remains with you.

What advice would you give patients and caregivers in navigating the complexities of U.S. healthcare?

Create a project plan for your malady. Doctors and nurses are there to help and give advice, but they are not the end all, be all. Have a plan, do research, know what the options are, and question what’s going on. Others care, but in the end, it’s your decision.

What is your one message for your fellow alumni?

Enjoy life. It’s probably the best thing you can do for your health and well-being.

 

“School shouldn’t be viewed as a prerequisite for a specific job or career, but rather a basis for a student’s ‘learning model.’ SJSU helped me to learn how to learn.”

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