A conversation with Tom West, Division President, Diagnostics Solutions, Hologic

June 24, 2019

In your opinion, what makes you a good leader?

Great leadership boils down to a few key principles: Vision, prioritization, integrity, and people. A great leader can see and articulate a vision of the future that is at once inspiring and at the same time attainable. They provide a narrative to the organization that all functions can rally around and feel motivated to deliver. But goals are not attained by trying to do everything. Resources need to be allocated to the essential few that will truly make a difference. Strategy is all about prioritization and resource allocation. A great leader must operate with integrity and honesty. Their motives are tied to the success of those they serve: Customers, employees, communities, and investors. Last but perhaps most importantly, great leaders nurture greatness in others. They attract great talent and then develop that talent to its fullest potential. With vision, prioritization, integrity, and great people a leader can leave a legacy of accomplishment.

You are part of Hologic’s Global Leadership team. The U.S. healthcare system has many challenges in and of itself. Why is an international presence so important to Hologic?

International presence is definitely important to Hologic and an area for growth. In Diagnostics, we have market-leading, clinically differentiated assays, and instrumentation to help improve laboratory productivity and accelerate results that ultimately enhance patient care. That’s key for us too: Enhancing patient care. We are a champion of women’s health and are expanding our proven expertise to other diseases. We have a vision to be able to provide our quality diagnostic testing for the most prevalent diseases across the globe. We are committed to creating sustainable pathways for testing in areas where access to healthcare can make all the difference. Since our solutions are widely used across the U.S., we are now striving to have an even greater impact by making those solutions available to the world.   

Have you had the opportunity to meet celebrity representative and breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow via Hologic’s SmartCurve breast stabilization system?

How successful has celebrity sponsorship been for Hologic and can we expect to see future celebrities endorsing (diagnostic) products? Yes, I had the opportunity to meet Sheryl in 2015. She is a strong partner who shares her passion with an audience that is very important to us and the heart of our purpose as a women’s health champion. Hologic has also partnered with celebrities across other divisions. The Diagnostics Division recently worked with Erin Andrews, the TV announcer who is a cervical cancer survivor. Erin has shared her personal story of survivorship and encourages women to have conversations with their healthcare professionals about cervical cancer screening.

All of these programs have been strategically planned and executed to reach our target audiences and ultimately empower women to get the diagnostic tests they need throughout their lifetime. It will remain important for us to partner with individuals who have authentic voices because they can connect with patients on an emotional level while providing important education that helps them understand the need to go to their healthcare providers and ask about the tests they need. All of which ultimately benefits our lab partners, too.

You are quoted as saying, “Hologic has the responsibility and privilege to serve people in need by providing accessible testing, which is crucial for managing care and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.” Who at Hologic determines which patients are “in need” and who pays for this type of “accessible” testing?

That’s right, we believe it is not only our privilege but our responsibility to increase access to our superior technology, which is crucial for managing care and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. In terms of the quote you’re referencing, those I mention “in need” are specifically part of the global initiative and are in the countries that make up 90 percent of the global HIV disease burden.

Through this initiative, we introduced a first-of-its-kind price ceiling agreement that guarantees access to all four crucial diagnostic tests at the same price across nearly 50 resource-limited countries. The single, all-inclusive pricing structure, with no upfront cost or capital expenditure, offers these countries a cost-effective way to diagnose infectious diseases with superior technology. We’re proud that we can provide accurate diagnostics to these countries, and we’re excited to see how an increased testing supply can help mitigate the burden of infectious disease and improve overall health.

Being a top-level executive, how often do you get to interact with working laboratorians?

Our laboratory partners and laboratorians are our core customers and building relationships with them is an extremely high priority for me and my team. Everything we do in the Diagnostics Solutions Division at Hologic is focused on addressing the needs of today’s laboratories, including those related to consolidation, cost, time, scalability, and growth. I regularly meet with customers to understand the challenges they face so we can ensure Hologic is providing the best solutions.

If you could do it all over again, what profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a race car driver. I really, really wanted to be a race car driver. But that idea wore off with time, much to the relief of my mother. In college I contemplated law school and later investment banking. But I am really glad that I chose a career in healthcare. I am so proud of the work we do every day and that is has the potential to benefit so many. Working in healthcare and at Hologic is truly meaningful and I am honored that I can say that with conviction.