What Theranos Whistleblowers Learn About Ethics in Health Startups – asume tech

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Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz were the whistleblowers who helped expose the corruption in Theranos. They spoke at the Manova Summit in Minneapolis this week.

The Whistleblowers of Theranos, Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz, shared some lessons from working in a culture of fear and secrecy at the Manova Global Summit on the Future of Health in Minneapolis.

"There were words we could not say at Theranos, like 'biology', 'pipette', 'research'," "recalled Shultz." And we should not talk to other people at Theranos about what you did. "

Even so, the two had no other career experience, so it took awhile for the red flags to add up, Cheung said.

Now that the former Theranos leadership is waiting for a test in 2020, Cheung and Shultz have formed an organization they call Ethics in Entrepreneurship, hoping to prevent other technology and health startups and associates from doing so do what they did.

"We're all here because we want to make a difference and we want to do good and we have good intentions, but making sure you have that strong vision and figuring out how to sustain that is a challenge," Cheung said. "You have to figure out how to stick to these morals, standards and values despite the chaos."

Although they do not yet have all the answers at the moment, they pointed to some basics that can be applied to just about any business:

In Silicon Valley, so-called vanity boards are popular, Cheung agreed, but just in a heavily regulated area like healthcare, "you need the right people to ask the right questions."

Although Shultz spent most of his 20s in the Theranos scandal, he remains optimistic.

"So many things have gone wrong (in the case of Theranos) that I think it's unlikely to happen again," he said. "Although I may be naive."

Abbe's presenter Rebecca Jarvis asked the two of them if they felt Theranos's former director, Elizabeth Holmes, was going to jail.

"There has to be some justice," Cheung said to the audience with great applause. "It must."

Photo: Andrew McGee, Manova

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