Medtech Relationship


Medical device marketers know that physicians provide the best insight into clinical needs due to their direct observations and their trained expertise. Although there is a strong incentive for medtechs to listen to customers’ needs, relying on physicians for the solution to these clinical discoveries is fraught with challenges .

Since an observation or limitation in the clinic cannot be “owned” in an intellectual property sense, medical device companies risk little by listening to physician needs. Solving a need, however, has been considered the terrain of the medical device company engineer with select few physicians having engineering backgrounds and not being considered technically savvy. To be fair to medical device companies, screening through the vast number of physician synthesized hair-brain ideas to get to the small number of gems can be overwhelming. Especially, considering that medical device companies have a core group of specialized resources that are trained to solve medical device challenges. On top of all else, there is a paranoia that if a company accepts an idea from a physician and it doesn’t work out, that the clinician will think any alternative solution based on the same need is stealing the physician’s idea. These real reasons combined with a territorial “not invented here” mindset contribute to established medical device companies being resistant to physician ideas.

So, typically physicians have their knowledge siphoned by medtech marketing and engineering personnel without participating in the solution generation. For this reason, there has been a trend where physicians have started-up medical device companies based on their ideas and insights. Obviously, managing a medical device company in parallel to being a full-time physician is extremely demanding and typically involves a reduction in clinical practice. A compromise may be to hire a team to manage development of your idea while you provide consultation in small increments. Alternatively, you may be able to show sufficient proof-of-concept on your own and convince an established medical device company to collaborate on the concept.