Today’s Wound Clinic (TWC): Please provide a short description of your background, training, and experience.
Arti Masturzo (AM): “I fell into wound care very much by accident almost 15 years ago, and immediately fell in love with it because it allowed me to think like an internist (my primary training) and cut like a surgeon. My career path changed in 2010 for two reasons. First, I joined the executive team at a small but growing wound care management company, where I gained important business knowledge while expanding my leadership skills. Second, I started a physician practice that evolved into a comprehensive value-based model in all sites of service that reduced readmissions, improved quality outcomes, and decreased length of stay. In 2015, the practice was acquired by a large management company, where I led product development and strategic initiatives until I joined Solsys Medical earlier this year. This variety of exposure to different aspects of the wound care industry has given me a unique appreciation for our field and the desire to do more to advance it. I will complete my master’s in business administration (MBA) in December of this year.”
TWC: What should readers know about your company’s vision and mission?
AM: “Solsys Medical, formerly known as Soluble Systems, is known for our flagship product TheraSkin, a bioactive human split-thickness skin allograft that is cryopreserved to maintain cellular viability, growth factors, and a native human extracellular matrix.
The executive leadership’s ethos is integrity, humility, and responsibility in providing wound healing solutions that add value to the healthcare system. Chronic wounds are very costly, and the company believes strongly in providing solutions that improve healing outcomes without burdening the health system with high costs.”
TWC: What attracted you to this company?
AM: “I’ve used TheraSkin for years in my practice and believe in the science, but what attracted me to work for the company was the team and the culture. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my career is that it doesn’t matter how great an idea or product it is, it is the team that makes the difference. I believe this to be true whether you are on a team working in a wound care center or in a growing organization such as Solsys.”
TWC: What do you like most about working for this company?
AM: “The people and the culture. I like that Solsys is small yet full of bright talent that is energized to grow the company, innovate, and advance the field.”
TWC: How do you ensure a work-life balance?
AM: “I married the right person 17 years ago! My husband is very supportive, and we parent as a team. We are fortunate to have two kids who understand that mom doesn’t “go to work,” but rather, she works hard to improve the lives of patients suffering from wounds. What I’ve learned raising them is that it’s about quality time, not quantity. So far, so good.”
TWC: What is the biggest challenge to working in the wound care industry?
AM: “I believe our biggest challenge is also our strength. We are a very young field, and, like all young fields, are figuring it out as we go. The strength is that it’s an exciting time for innovation and learning. Because we are a young field, we have yet to define what interventions work or don’t work, why, when, and on whom. The chronic wound care patient is a medically complex patient, and, in many cases, the wound is a surrogate marker for chronic illness. This makes randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and research opportunities very difficult when compared to fields like cancer. Our biggest challenge is unifying the field to gain the knowledge required to take the industry to the next level.”
TWC: What are some of the biggest changes you have witnessed in the wound care industry over the course of your career?
AM: “I’ve noticed both positive and negative changes. I see more clinicians choosing a career in wound care, which I think is critical to our growth as an industry. Wound care is still highly underappreciated by the larger healthcare community, but I think we are slowly making progress in raising awareness of the epidemic. As a young field, we do not have the rigorous clinical data or evidence to create reliable treatment algorithms, and I think this leads to highly variable care and, as a result, waste of valuable resources.”
TWC: What changes do you expect the industry to experience as this decade draws to a close?
AM: “I expect that the healthcare system will continue to evolve towards some form of a value-based model. I’m not sure what it will look like exactly, but I don’t think the ‘do more, make more’ model is sustainable.
We have an opportunity to combine forces as clinicians and industry leaders to define our future before those who don’t understand wound care define it for us.”
TWC: How does your company intend to impact the improvement of quality wound care research and trials moving forward?
AM: “Prospective blinded RCTs are clearly the best way to test a therapy; however, this is almost impossible in the treatment of complex nonhealing wounds. In my opinion, traditional RCTs are not always indicative of the patient population we treat.
Unfortunately, most of my patients would be excluded in typical RCTs. The goal for Solsys is to strike that delicate balance — proving something works in an RCT, but then proving it in the real world. I would like to pursue research opportunities that tell clinicians when not to use a therapy, just as much as it tells them when to use it.”
TWC: What are the most frequent songs and/or artists playing in your iPod?
AM: “Very diverse! My Spotify® library is schizophrenic and nonsensical — everything from old-school rap to Kendrick Lamar, to Britney Spears, to opera … I love the classical operas! I have teenage kids, so I will listen to anything to make sure that I ‘stay cool.’”
TWC: When you have time, which show(s) are you binge watching?
AM: “When I started my MBA last year, I had to give up almost everything. My time is mostly spent reading business books, and I’m way behind on the latest shows. Old episodes of Law & Order and Seinfeld never get old!”
TWC: Which books are currently on your coffee table?
AM: “They are mostly business books at this time, but I still squeeze in an autobiography of someone who really inspires me. Colin Powell’s It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership is on my coffee table now and is one of my favorites.”