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New Episode of Medtech POV Podcast: Senator Richard Burr Discusses AI and Health Care, the VALID Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, AdvaMed, the Medtech Association, released the newest episode of Medtech POV with Scott Whitaker, featuring a conversation with former Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Burr, now a policy advisor and chair of DLA Piper’s Health Policy Strategic Consulting practice, served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for nearly three decades. In that time, he positioned himself as an expert in health care policy, rising to Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). Burr was instrumental in the passage of landmark health care legislation, including policies that enabled the federal government to quickly react to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as legislation that created the Advanced Research Projects Authority for Health (ARPA-H).

In this episode of the podcast, Senator Burr shares his perspectives, shaped by his years in public service, on the intersection of Congressional politics and health care, the state of our current political climate, and the role of AI in the future of health care delivery.

With respect to health care policy, Whitaker asked Burr to weigh in on the potential impact of artificial intelligence on health care delivery.

“I think what we should be excited about right now would be early detection. Because early detection gives early therapeutic options. We look for a younger doctor because you want somebody that practiced for six years, fresh out of med school they still read the Journal of Medicine, they still read updates. They’ll figure out what’s wrong with me. Now, all of a sudden, I’m going, ‘Wait a minute. AI can do that.’ I can call in and tell them what’s wrong with me and the likelihood is they’re just as good as me sitting down with this young 35-year-old doctor.”

Burr discussed the likelihood of diagnostic regulatory reform passing under the VALID Act and the value the legislation would have for patients.

“There’s incredible value. Why should lab developed tests not be included in the category that’s going to benefit from this huge technological shift and the conveniences and the accuracy that it provides? When I look at Congress, I recognize the past problems and disagreements within multiple communities who had pieces of lab developed tests. And what have they learned since I left that we didn’t know when I was there? They learned that when government does it by themselves, it can be detrimental to all of them involved.

“You know, maybe we don’t get it perfect. Maybe we only get 85 percent of the way there. Maybe everybody’s upset with a different 10 percent. But that’s very different than an agency implementing something that is purely the jurisdiction of Congress. And Congress will have to exercise that authority fairly quickly.”

Talking about leadership and commitment, Burr emphasized that whether in politics or business, there is no difference in what makes a good leader.

“Leaders are those that inspire others to respond to the challenge. And historically I found, as you did, athletics to play a huge part of that. That people on the field respected you when you gave it 110%. And they quickly determined when you gave 80%. And it doesn’t mean that they always performed at a hundred percent, but they could be motivated to do it. I think leadership is about motivating others to excel at what you’ve asked them to do. That’s what I did with committees on the Hill, and you do that through transparency, inclusion, and example.”

Senator Burr went on to encourage young leaders to focus on the Three Cs, saying, “Character, conviction, and commitment. If you can’t convince somebody what you believe, if you can’t convince them that you know the difference between right and wrong and that you’re passionate about accomplishing a task, why would they hire you? If you can answer those, then you’re competitive in the marketplace.”

When asked about the current partisanship in Washington, Senator Burr noted the growing fringe elements within both political parties and the difficulty in find consensus around bipartisan solutions.

“It makes it very difficult to try to figure out how you how you do an initiative that is big. I still revert to the belief that, as a member of the Senate, I knew what the threshold was. If I didn’t have 60 votes, then I couldn’t move an initiative that was important to me and that I thought was important to the American people. So, it forced me on day one to one, find a person on the other side of the aisle as a sponsor and two, to find somebody that I knew when the bullets started flying, they were still going to be with me. I’m not sure that those people exist right now. And I think that’s what makes it difficult.”

To listen to the full episode, download the Medtech POV podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever podcast streaming is available. Visit for more information on the podcast and listen to past episodes.

The Medtech POV podcast is hosted by Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed, the world’s largest trade association representing medical technology companies. In each episode, guests sit down with Whitaker to talk about the intersection of medtech and policy from every perspective, including current issues in business, policy, and current events.

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