Medtech innovation meets collaboration: the importance of multidisciplinary conversation

 In 2016 Conference, Health Data, Health Startup, Medtech

Recently, Tiffany Wilson, executive director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), and Sidney Welch, Healthcare Innovation Practice Chair for Polsinelli PC, an Am Law 100 national firm, conversed with host CW Hall on the Health Connect South radio program. During this time, they shared insights into the world of medtech regulation, innovation, and collaboration.

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Discussing how care innovation is being impacted by tech innovation, Welch replied “There is innovation focused on how we gather data, analyze it, and have it affect protocols.” She commented, “Physicians and payers are working together to understand what the correct measures are. But it has been a bit like throwing the spaghetti against the wall. It’s been messy. What we have found lately is that it comes down to changing the language for everyone from volume to value.”

Sidney Welch, Healthcare Innovation Practice Chair, Polsinelli, P.C.

Sidney Welch, Healthcare Innovation Practice Chair, Polsinelli, P.C.

Adding a heavy layer of tech to the field has also complicated processes. Technology has provided multiple platforms for an ease in data sharing, but now privacy is an issue.

“There is a struggle between privacy and intellectual property rights within health care,” Welch said. “Currently the regulatory environment involving patient rights does not match the technological advances of data share, and it is frustrating. With data sharing, change done right has great patient benefit. Responsible data sharing helps eliminate medication errors, reduce readmissions, and ensure that care is properly executed. All of these factors will, in turn, help cut costs while improving overall care.”

Commercialization is not as logical as the scientific process

GCMI recently joined forces with T3 Labs to stimulate the development of new medical technologies. This union paves the way for entrepreneurs, including engineers and physician innovators, to bring novel therapies from concept to cure to commercialization by expanding access to the region’s considerable medtech ecosystem resources.

The first question Tif asks of clinicians or engineers with an idea for a new medtech product is, “Are you developing a product or a company?” She notes a stark difference between the two. “If I’m a surgeon with an idea for a tool, it might not be a company, but it still needs to go through product development and certification through the FDA.”

And this process, Tif stresses, takes a team of individuals.

“Not everyone should be the CEO of their own medtech company,” she said. “We try to work with medtech entrepreneurs to accelerate their process. It’s a complicated and multidisciplinary process. Not to mention it is often extremely expensive.”

The most successful startups are led by innovators that are passionate about problem solving for the patient. Tif mentions NFANT, a company that was spun out of the incubator at GCMI.

“They are truly great collaborators and hard workers,” she said. “NFANT deals specifically with premature infants and feeding. It started with a desire to measure the strength of the infant to get them out of the NICU as quickly as possible.”

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Tiffany Wilson, executive director, GCMI

Tiffany Wilson, executive director, GCMI

“Medtech innovation from concept to the marketplace is a combination of science, government, medicine and business,” Tif says. “We (GCMI) have come together with T3 Labs to create an incubator that helps put the pieces together up front. We now have an established central point of contact where entrepreneurs avoid burning through days of wasted capital.”

The FDA is getting better about speeding the process. “It used to be that the FDA was always saying ‘no no no,’ but it’s not scary anymore. Now the issue is that the payer is navigating through health care laws that are constantly changing. Bringing T3 Labs under the GCMI umbrella helps to derisk the innovation process making it more attractive for prospective investors.”

Collaboration is key: find your next collaborative partner at #HCS2016

Most conferences are discipline specific. Health Connect South is a melding of minds. “I am not aware of any other event that is like Health Connect South,” Tif said. “It is an opportunity to bring together all facets of the industry to brainstorm and solve problems. Opportunities are endless if people can talk, connect and think big.”

Sidney added, “It’s all in the ecosystem and not the silos. Hearing different vantage points is necessary. HCS provides a forum to make connections. You receive a well-informed full package perspective rather than guessing through one lens. It’s like the old adage – the more minds you put on a problem, the better the solution.”

Register for #HCS2016: Regional Assets, Global Impact Today.

You can listen to the full interview here.

 

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