Can you top this second act? Kevin Lastorino, a bona fide deal junkie and longtime private practice heavy hitter in the healthcare world, wasn’t supposed to be in this space at all. He graduated dental school at the top of his class.
There was just one small problem.
“I realized, almost immediately, that I can’t do this forever,” Lastorino, deputy general counsel at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), remembers. “I was seventeen when I decided I wanted to be a dentist, but I knew there was something else out there that was calling to me.”
That “something else” would eventually involve merging massive healthcare organizations, constructing complicated deals in one of the most regulated environments in existence, and for the last six years, positioning HSS as not just an award-winning surgery practice operating on the frontlines of innovation, but one able to harness its own ideas and advancements for itself.
The 230-bed hospital may have a small (though growing) physical footprint, but with a 13th consecutive top ranking by the US News & World Report for orthopedics, HSS is used to making an outsized impact on the medical community. Lastorino was sought out to give HSS’s Innovation Institute the chance to bring its inventions, collaborations, and incredible internal IP the chance to blossom in-house. As well as to create new revenue streams for an industry that is always being asked to do more with less.
“The Innovation Institute is a chance to open a new dialog with our medical staff, our researchers, and other scientists about how we can better identify opportunities to commercialize new technology,” Lastorino explains. “The key in all of this is to protect the integrity of our research.”
The results, even in a short period of time, have been astounding. A partnership with musculoskeletal healthcare company Zimmer Biomet saw the creation of the mymobility app, a first-of-its-kind remote care management platform that integrates with Apple watches to provide care teams with mobility reporting of patients. The app acts as a “virtual care team” for those preparing for and recovering from orthopedic procedures, allowing them to do so from home.
The Zimmer Biomet relationship extends far beyond a single project. HSS announced the creation of the HSS/Zimmer Biomet Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence in Robotic Joint Replacement in July 2022.
The goal is to develop new decision support tools to provide data-driven recommendations for robotic-assisted joint surgery. Lastorino says it’s a way of imparting knowledge from extraordinary experts, all the way down to where the first cut should be. Data collected will aid patient recovery down the line, providing a real-time feedback loop for continual learning.
Then, there is the LimaCorporate partnership, one that has resulted in the construction of a 3D printing facility on HSS’s campus. “It’s the first-ever provider-based 3D design and printing center for complex joint reconstruction surgery,” Lastorino explains. “This is the next step of an already strong partnership, and we have reduced patient wait times to a period of weeks, not months. We’re able to build and print titanium custom implants for patients right onsite.”
In collaboration with UK-based VR Electronics, HSS is pioneering immersive XR training technology with the help of VR Electronics’s TESLASUIT. The technology, originally created for gaming, is now being turned to healthcare. The full-body suit contains sensors that cover 95 percent of the muscle mass of the human body and will be able to improve assessments for diagnostics, performance training, and next-generation rehabilitation.
“This is a young company, and we’re envisioning a time when you don’t have to wear an entire suit, maybe just a leg sleeve that measures kinetics,” Lastorino says. The partnership makes even more sense when combined with HSS’s Motion Analysis Laboratory, one of only a few accredited institutions for both adults and children in the country.
This is just a smattering of Lastorino’s work thus far, but each one of these examples is a cataclysmic leap forward in multiple fields. That’s what matters to the deputy general counsel.
“In twenty years, I want to look back and see some kind of legacy,” Lastorino admits. “I want to see these initiatives making money for the institution and these products in the market, making people’s lives better. I want to see our 3D printing center become the standard instead of the pioneer. I’m so proud of this institution and I’m proud to work here. These people are incredible. I just want to support that.”
Lastorino has done larger monetary deals in the past. He’s helped organizations buy and sell healthcare operations exponentially larger than HSS’s footprint, but this truly might be the most important work the DGC has ever done. A loss for dentistry was a windfall for the broader healthcare space because he will keep looking for new ways to make HSS’s innovation a gain for everyone.
Proskauer’s healthcare practice brings a keen understanding of industry dynamics with our team of specialized healthcare regulatory and transactional lawyers and professionals. We offer a full range of services for clients—strategizing with service providers and health plans, operators, investors, and lenders, among others, in matters ranging from complex transactions and regulatory compliance to commercial litigation and defense of government investigations. We are a trusted advisor, partnering on the most important, complex, and sensitive challenges facing healthcare organizations today, across all subsectors within the industry, including health care services, biotechnology, telemedicine, IT, and life sciences.