Physician Inventor

SHOULD INDIVIDUAL PHYSICIANS ACTIVELY INVENT MEDICAL DEVICES?

According to a Duke Fuqua School of Business study*:
  • Almost 20% of 26,000 medical device patents (1990-1996) had a physician inventor
  • Physician patents had more influence on subsequent inventive activity than non-physician patents
  • Surprisingly, 60% of physician-inventors worked in a group practice or solo practice (i.e. non-academic setting)
  • These doctor inventors have assigned 56% of these patents to medical device companies
  • The authors recommend supporting physician-led discovery outside traditional academic settings, including small-scale seed funding
The message is that individual physicians, in private practice, can and are inventing medical devices.  And, society needs clinicians to play a more active role in leading future medical device innovation.  Clinicians experience first-hand medical issues and challenges that engineers and marketers only hear about indirectly.  Often times you cannot put these experiences into words, but know that there must be a solution.  Physicians by nature are problem solvers and every medical device invention is by definition a solution to a problem.
*Physician-Industry Cooperation in the Medical Device Industry
Health Affairs, no. 6 (2008): 1532-1543
By Aaron K. Chatterjl, Kira R. Fabrizio, Will Mitchell, and Kevin A. Schulman