Driving Innovation, Digitalization, and DEI – A Conversation with Christine Horton

February 24  

Christine Horton, CEO, Visura Technologies
Christine Horton, CEO,
Visura Technologies
Jim Ree, President, YKK Corporation of America
Jim Reed, President,
YKK Corporation of America

Jim Reed, President of YKK Corporation of America, recently spoke with Christine Horton, Chief Executive Officer and President of Visura Technologies.  Visura is the manufacturer of the TEECAD System, the world’s first FDA-cleared disposable camera that seamlessly connects to a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) probe. Horton has been working in the medical device industry for more than thirty years, including serving on boards and as the chief executive officer of CoreSpine Technologies, a privately held spinal device company. She has launched multiple companies and products in markets such as cardiology, orthopedics, and diagnostics. Horton excels at finding solutions, thinking creatively, and working side by side with teams to generate value.

Q: What do you think is the key to successfully driving innovations like the TEECAD System for entrepreneurial manufacturers?

A: The key to driving innovation from a manufacturing perspective is being open to solving a new problem. An innovation like TEECAD doesn’t have any competition on the market, so we had to go outside our comfort zones to look at new approaches. Even large organizations have people with an entrepreneurial spirit – find those people and really maximize their interests and engagement. Create an environment that truly offers creative, problem-solving people, a seat at the table. I guarantee, from experience, it makes people love their jobs that much more.  

Q: Supply chains can make or break a high-growth company. How can manufacturers find the right supply chain partner and build a relationship of trust?

A: A major factor in building a relationship of trust is as simple as doing what you say you’re going to do. If you run into a hurdle, let your manufacturing partner know there’s going to be a delay and what you expect that delay to be. Pick up the phone and have an honest conversation. That’s the difference between a good partnership and being treated as a number. If I trust my supplier, I will stick with them. If I don’t trust them, I’m going to be looking elsewhere because I have my company and revenue riding on that trust.

Q: It seems that all companies are ramping up their digitalization efforts. Where do you think manufacturers should focus their efforts?

A: As a medical device manufacturer, it’s about quality and traceability. We must keep track of every little part, that’s a critical requirement. We need to have accountability on all tiny parts. With digitalization, you can scan everything into an electronic record rather than having a paper trail. This is critical from a regulatory standpoint.

Q: Tell me about your journey as a leader in MedTech. How can manufacturers foster an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?

A: What I have learned through my experience over the last 30 years in my industry is that it’s never just about you. There’s always somebody helping you out, supporting you, or cheering you on. I’m the mother of three daughters. It is because of them that I have pushed so hard in this industry, which has been historically male dominated, especially at the executive and board levels.  Even though companies are satisfied with parity in workplaces, there is still a lack of women in leadership and board positions. My biggest inspiration is that my daughters and other women can go into an industry where there is not just equal pay but also equal opportunity. I hope there are other women mirroring me in other industries pushing for equality.

Ultimately though there is a lack of support for families in general, especially caregivers, which are often women. It’s not just about supporting women; it’s about supporting families, however that is defined for the individual employee. When people are happy and feel supported, we get better employees and better companies. I’m looking towards the next generation to demand real change on this matter. It’s not just a woman’s issue, but a human issue at its core.

About YKK

Founded in 1934, YKK solves complex fastening and attaching challenges for the medical device market with a focus on cost control, quality, and regulatory compliance. YKK’s portfolio spans from tailored and off-the-shelf product solutions to machinery and is supported by deep engineering expertise and integrated production capabilities in 70+ countries and regions. The company serves as a trusted technical advisor and engaged partner to help customers with lifecycle management, new product development, changes in capacity needs and high-volume production.

YKK’s collaborative, “solutions-first” philosophy brings a different approach to the medical device market, resulting in tangible excellence that can be seen, touched, felt, and heard.

For more information, visit https://ykkamericas.com/application/medical/medical-devices/

About Visura Technologies

Founded in 2015, Visura is a medical device company dedicated to delivering state-of-art visualization solutions to improve the quality of transesophageal echocardiogram probe intubations. Visura has developed the TEECAD System, the world’s first, FDA-cleared, disposable camera that seamlessly connects to a TEE probe, providing physicians real-time visualization for more efficient and effective probe placement. For more information, please visit www.visuratechnologies.com.

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