Biomedical Innovation, Surgical Innovation, and Beyond
Michael Gertner, Stanford University
"There's a better way; find it" -Thomas Alva Edison Some of the most remarkable human advances in the last hundred years have been health care related. Many of these advances have involved luck…the right people, the right circumstances. The Biodesign Innovation program at Stanford attempts to increase the probability that the right people and the right circumstances come together. There are several major and minor theses presented throughout this paper. The major thesis is that in today's medical world, clinical practice continues to become highly focused and at the same time, technology also is becoming more focused and complex. As a consequence, the innovation process (the chance that the right people are present at the right opportunity) is less efficient than it could or should be. Traditionally, little attention has been given to the process of innovation in general and specifically to the process within medicine. It is time to look at the innovation process and how structured programs can be devised to bring together unmet market needs, talented engineers, and creative individuals from the various medical surgical specialties to make innovation happen. One of the first university initiatives to address this issue has been the Biodesign Innovation program at Stanford University, run by Drs Paul Yock and Joshua Makower as a component of the multidisciplinary Bio-X center. This paper delineates an expansion of this program to the surgical disciplines, the Surgical Innovation program. A further extension is also in the works which expands the underlying principles of the Biodesign Innovation program to the traditional academic environment in which research projects, be they dissertation, post-doctoral projects, or undergraduate projects, are chosen using the needs assessment approach refined within the Biodesign Innovation program described below.
View the full paper here >> (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)