10 Questions with Ron Schilling

May 26, 2015
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

For this “10 Questions” series, we spoke with Ron Schilling about his work and the future of radiology.

Our “10 Questions” series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the medical imaging community.

Here, we profiled Ron Schilling.

1. Please state your name, title and the organization you work for. 

Ron Schilling, CEO, EchoPixel. EchoPixel provides an Integrated Holographic System (IHS) that enables imaging to be done with both images and objects, thereby significantly increasing intuition, a key ingredient in increasing knowledge = cognition + intuition.

2. How did you get where you are today?

I followed an interesting path. After getting a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree, I wanted a position in technology. RCA Labs had a program where you could get a PhD while working with the latest technology in semiconductors – CMOS. I joined the team that developed CMOS. A few years later, I noticed that marketing was a void for several leaders who I greatly respected.  Then came an opportunity with Motorola, the marketing company.  I had the opportunity to launch the microprocessor program. That followed with GE where I brought CT to market and learned all about strategic planning at one of the best strategic planning and business companies. It appeared that entrepreneurship was the next pursuit. Diasonics needed a CEO of MRI – that was the perfect direction to take. That led to running Toshiba – now I had worked with all of the modalities. Armed with the path of learning, I now am CEO in a start-up that is capable of changing the world of medical visualization  by viewing objects as well as images using interactive virtual reality.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"38021","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_7113371117125","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"3773","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 160px; width: 200px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"Ron Schilling","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

3. Why did you choose your profession?

As noted above, it was based on a path of learning. I thought that I would be in the medical field for a short period of time and then return to semiconductors. However, for someone with a marketing interest, life can’t get better than medical, where you spend so much time interfacing with the end user – the doctor. Therefore, the short period turned out to be almost 40 years.

4. What is your biggest day-to-day challenge? 

The biggest challenge for any CEO is maintaining strategic direction while motivating a well chosen array of talented people. Remembering that as the CEO the team has the answers. The CEO must listen very carefully and suggest a question, when needed, that can stimulate the process of the team finding the answer.

5. What worries, if any, do you have about the future of radiology? If none, where do you think the field is going?

When I came into the medical field, the top priorities for the customer were quality and quality. Today, the top priorities are speed and speed. The pressures on the docs is intense – more patients to deal with and fewer docs to carry the load. That’s the reason that EchoPixel concentrates on improving clinical efficacy and workflow – with that combination everyone wins.

6. What one thing would make your job better?

This is a very difficult question. The field of medical imaging is an amazing area for someone who has a technical background and cares about the wellbeing of people. Knowing that you can contribute to saving lives has to be the best feeling on the planet. The biggest frustration that I have found is that a number of companies focus on selling products – that’s very good. However, the best approach is to create the best solutions to patients’ problems. This is what makes great companies.

7. What is your favorite thing about radiology?

Working closely with the docs. At EchoPixel our formula for success is C/T Tie + Protocol = CE + WF.  It starts with understanding the Clinical need (not only a want) by going deep in discussion with the docs. Then, bringing the Technology to Tie with the Clinical. Working even closer with the docs, a Protocol is established so that Clinical Efficacy and Workflow are both increased. If you can’t get an AND (CE and WF) it only means that you have not gone deep enough.

8. What is your least favorite thing about radiology?

Seeing the pressure on the docs from patient count going up and numbers of docs going down. In addition, the pressures presented by other docs reaching out to grab radiology turf. I believe that radiology has an opportunity to become the surgical planning of the future.  At EchoPixel, we often find ourselves working to close the radiology–surgery gap. What that requires is providing both disciplines with a common language.

9. What is the field’s biggest obstacle?

Inertia is almost always the biggest obstacle in any field – being unwilling to change. However, when a radiologist saw EchoPixel’s IHS, he commented, “Now I can speak intelligently to the surgeon.” And when a surgeon saw the IHS, he commented, “I’ve never opened up a patient and seen a 2D view. This type of display system I can use.” Hence the bridging of the radiology–surgery gap. And, a path forward to overcome inertia.

10. If you could give the radiology specialty one piece of advice, what would it be?

Get closer to the patient. Becoming the surgical planning expert, as noted above, is one path that is sure to facilitate the move toward the patient for radiology.

 

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