So, you are a doctor with a great idea but you don’t know what to do first. How do you get started in turning your concept into a medical device product that can be used in the clinic?
Here are 10 steps for getting started:
- Purchase a bound (no spiral) notebook
- Outline in the notebook the Must and Want attributes of the need you want to solve.
- “Napkin Sketch” your idea in the notebook and have anyone witness your idea by signing and dating the page; add additional content as the idea is refined.
- Google search for similar products on the market; identify the deficiencies that remain unresolved.
- Google Patent (or USPTO) search for patents on similar devices; gain confidence that your idea is unique and learn about competitive solutions.
- Find a qualified patent or intellectual property attorney that has experience with medical devices.
- Have your attorney file a Provisional Patent to protect your idea for 1-year while you refine the concept and prepare to file a full application.
- Research your idea’s business opportunity, including market analysis, competitive technologies, cost targets, etc.
- Define a strategy for getting your idea to the market (e.g. medtech license without development, VC/Angel fund and build company, bootstrap and/or co-develop with medtech company, etc.)
- Fabricate a first prototype in one of the following ways:
- Modify an existing device yourself or with an engineer
- Hire an engineer/contract development firm to model/build your concept, potentially using stereolithography technology
- contract with a development firm and explore several embodiments of your idea and choose the most promising
Once the above steps are complete, implement your strategy (#9), which usually begins with finding a funding source. As has been discussed in a previous blog post, the greater progress you achieve in demonstrating feasibility of your concept before soliciting funding, the greater equity you will retain in your idea. In the near future, Healing Innovation will be telling you about a new Internet-based tool for physician inventors to access funding and develop your ideas using virtual projects. Click on “Innovation Acceleration on the Internet” on the top menu or stay tuned…