Dave Quinn with Syracuse University Students

Dave Quinn: Inside the mind of an engineering guru

2015 marks the release of the Connex® Spot Monitor (CSM), a third-generation spot vitals monitor that combines leading vital signs parameter technologies with flexibility for use across patient populations spanning neonatal through adult. The CSM is just one example of how Welch Allyn’s reach in the area of blood pressure measurement continues to grow. The company has a long and committed history of developing blood pressure measurement solutions that provide clinicians the utmost in accuracy and reliability, and Welch Allyn’s patented SureBP® technology leads the market in patient comfort and clinician efficiency.

Dave Quinn, director of diagnostic technologies at Welch Allyn, is a great example of how employees help drive innovation within the company. Read our one-on-one interview with him. We hope you'll be as inspired and entertained by his story as we are.

 

Dave, what got you interested in the medical world?

Welch Allyn was my first job out of college. I started as an electronic technician. My initial interest was electronics, but it didn’t take long for me to gain an appreciation of not just electrical stuff but products that help people on the medical side. So I’ve had a 28-year-long growing passion for understanding more about the body and the products that make a difference in people’s health.

Do you remember your first day?

My first day… Well, I was sick my second day and thought I was going to get fired. In my 28 years at Welch Allyn I‘ve taken very few sick days. But I was so ill that second day that I had to call in sick (laughs). So I don’t really remember much about my first day. Just meeting a ton of people and trying to remember names. 

You have over 30 issued U.S. patents in diagnostic technology. Does one hold the most meaning to you?

Oh that’s a good question. There is an ear thermometer that will release soon. It helps correct for the user not using it exactly right. The technology is significant to me, but also the project is also memorable because of the team that worked on it. It was a problem we solved directly from customer research. 

Director of diagnostic technologies at Welch Allyn is an important job. What’s the most crucial skill to have in your position?

For me, it’s fostering an environment of creativity and innovation that grows out of a deep understanding of what you are working on. In the advanced technology industry, it’s easy to bounce from one thing to another. One of the things I like most about the medical industry is that it moves more methodically technology wise. So I can get a deeper understanding of what we’re trying to do and really understand the subsystem of the human body that we are trying to measure.

Changing topics, what is so unique about Welch Allyn’s SureBP® technology?

SureBP is an accurate technology that takes into account the needs of the user and the patient. That’s the biggest thing about it. It measures on the inflation to avoid squeezing the patients arm too hard, which can be painful for older patients. It is almost twice as fast as standard professional blood pressure taking technologies, which saves the user time. But in doing so it doesn't sacrifice accuracy.

The SureBP team getting a Welch Allyn Patent Hall of Fame award

 

What is the importance of blood pressure accuracy when capturing patient vital signs?

Blood pressure is a core indicator of some of the most common and tragic medical conditions that face adults today— stroke and heart attack. Accurate measure of blood pressure is at the core of reducing the risk of these diseases. But it’s not an easy measurement to take even though it has been around for 100 years. 

How did the importance of technology and accuracy translate into the Connex® Spot Monitor (CSM)?

The SureBP technology in the CSM can provide fast, accurate and very comfortable blood pressure readings in any medical environment, whether that’s a doctor’s office or a hospital. We have a database of collected blood pressure cycles from 1000’s of patients that have been gathered over the last 10 years. So we can virtually run those patients through our new algorithms in a matter of minutes to see how improvements will impact the accuracy of their readings. This ensures we are better prepared for patients (with a certain physical condition, demographic or anatomy) when we move a new technology, like the CSM, into the market.

How did you celebrate the launch of the new CSM?

(Laughs) I had a piece of cake with the team. I didn't do most of the work moving our blood pressure technology into CSM. It really was a team approach, so I want to recognize a couple of people. Ty Whitaker should be recognized for the SureBP technology. Matt Kinsley did a lot of heavy lifting for the CSM implementation and our test team of Joe Smith, John Delany, Matt Mullin, Zhon Chu and Jeff Chiodo made sure that it was ready for prime time.    

What does the future hold for blood pressure measurement devices?

I believe we are headed into a world filled with devices that the patient can use at home. These devices will make blood pressure measurement more comfortable for the patient, making it easier for them to use and to connect that data back to their doctor. 

After 100 successful years, what does the future hold for Welch Allyn?

I think as healthcare changes people will take more ownership of their own health and health measurements. And I think that will allow us to partner with new customers, who are patients, along with our professional customers. This will allow us to increase our reach in making products that help people outside the professional care areas and into the home and school. Here is an example of how things are already changing: I see people in my kid’s generation downloading an app on their iPhone® to check to see if they have a fever. A lot of those things are highly questionable. We offer the world’s leading thermometer but that’s not in their world when they need it and the free app is. That’s different than how we see diagnostics today but it’s going to be the norm in the future. And we need to be ready to meet the changing needs.

OK, thank you Dave. Now, the rapid fire segment of the interview. I’ll say a series of words/phrases. You say the first thing that pops into your head.

First person you met at Welch Allyn:

Rich Newman

One word that describes Welch Allyn employees:

Committed

Welch Allyn celebrates 100 years of success:

Pride

Jordan Road facility:

Basement

State Street facility:

Fountain

Food:

Reese’s peanut butter cups. Does that count as a food?

Dave Quinn with his favorite food!

Artist:

Chris Tomlin

Song:

Right now it is “Forgiven” by Brian Johnson

Vacation spot:

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Country:

Brazil  

President:

Ronald Reagan

Sport:

College basketball

Sports team:

Syracuse

How do you eat your pizza?:

Definitely fold it

Movie:

Tommy Boy. Chris Farley is my favorite actor

Activity:

Playing music with my wife and daughters

Dave Quinn with his family