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Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes

Academy of Achievement



About Us
At age 19, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of college. Ten years later, she was the youngest woman in the world to become a self-made billionaire. She had entered Stanford University as a chemical engineering major, but after asking herself, "What is the greatest change I could make in the world?" she set out to create a new technology that would process medical tests faster at lower cost. She left school in 2003 and’Äîwith the money her parents had saved for her education’Äîstarted a company to develop her patents. That company, Theranos, is now valued at $9 billion, with Holmes herself retaining more than 50 percent ownership. Rather than physically shipping vials of blood to a centralized location for testing, Theranos draws a few drops into a cartridge that is loaded into a compact device for analysis. Results are sent wirelessly to a secure database, reducing the errors and delays that occur with human handling. Up to 30 tests can be performed on a single sample, and the results are shared directly with the patient. Pharmaceutical companies are now partnering with Theranos for new drug testing, and Walgreens has announced plans to open Theranos "wellness centers" in all of its 8200 pharmacies. The low cost of Theranos blood tests may save patients, insurers and the government hundreds of billions of dollars in the next decade, while empowering consumers to manage their own health care. In this podcast, recorded at the 2014 International Achievement Summit in San Francisco, Ms. Holmes describes her company's innovative blood testing method as the first component of a long-term effort to reduce the many inefficiencies in our healthcare system, potentially saving both lives and dollars on a massive scale.

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