Teaming Up to Enhance Patient Care

UC faculty and staff from University and Children’s Hospitals are collaborating in medical device innovation to improve patient care.   

 Date: March 30, 2011

By: Kelley Ujvary

Team

Collaborate to Create Medical Devices (c2c:MD) is a group of faculty and staff from west campus, east campus, University Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).  The goal of this team is to provide a communication network that openly brainstorms processes for improved patient care through innovation and development.  The team does this through idea-concept, functionality-testing, clinical trials and mainstream practice. 

“We wanted to improve the communication networking and culture surrounding medical devices,” said team leader Chris Lindsell.  “A few of us who had an interest realized there was a gap.   That gap was multiple people in multiple silos who don’t talk to each other.  We need to network and communicate across silos.”  “Silos” is a term used to represent the distinct specialities or disciplines within the university and the research laboratories of many institutions.

In addition to heading this collaborative team, Lindsell works in the Emergency Medicine Department in the UC College of Medicine , and is the chair of research communication for University Hospital. 

“The bottom line in medical device collaboration is if the engineers don’t understand the clinical implementation of the device, they will get it wrong and vice-a-versa with implementers not understanding the engineering behind the device,” says Lindsell. 

“We have enough momentum and capability on our campus to take an idea through to clinical trials but only if we know who each other are and we recognize the cultural differences and priorities which exist at the boundaries of cross-disciplinary efforts,” states Mary Beth Privitera, an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UC-CEAS and a member of the collaboration team. 

MBP

The group hopes to be competitive and get independent funding by next year.  “To get funding, we need a product.  The product we are working on will be an educational product,” says Lindsell.  What he means by this is creating an education program.  Some ideas the team is currently investigating are: a fellowship for medical device creation, educational structure for faculty development,  a seminar/workshop/design event to attract people from education and industry, or expanding the medical device boot camp which proved a success last year. 

The team meets once a month and is making steady progress.  Over the last 6 months the team has set goals and strategies initiated a campus wide survey of activities, assess known programs of research through UC’s intellectual properties office, and identified applicable IRB research.  The purpose being to ascertain the magnitude of what is happening in all the laboratories in the area of medical device innovation.

“We really want to change the culture around medical devices.”  Medical devices starting with the idea to the product requires a strong collaboration by multiple stakeholders.  That is the fundamental premise in everything the team is working to achieve. A more unified and collaborative approach to enhancing the performance of medical devices will maximize benefits to the general public.   

The group has a long term vision of getting people in the industry, investors and scholars to look to Cincinnati as an ideal place to carry out medical device work.  “To get there we have to be a hot bed for medical devices - testing, designing, then getting things to market,” holds Lindsell.  The team is working hard to create these opportunities.  

The team is an open volunteer opportunity to anyone who is interested in helping make the connection across disciplines.  It started with Lindsell emailing people and asking them if they were interested and from there the group convened.  It consists of about 20 regular attendees and is growing.  For more information on being a part of this team, please contact Chris Lindsell at mlindsecj@ucmail.uc.edu.

MDIEP:  Every year, the Medical Device Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (MDIEP) works with clinicians to solve real clinical problems with real medical device solutions. The results are so spectacular that in 2010-2011 they filed 7 provisional patents. The linked file shows some of the devices already created:  http://cctst.uc.edu/webfm_send/2379.
 
To be part of this world-class program submit your problem statement to the following website:  
http://research.cchmc.org/surveys/index.php?hash=76dc611d6ebaafc66cc0879c71b5db5c 

If your problem is selected, a group of between 2 and 5 engineering, design and business students will work to resolve the problem under the direct supervision of medical device industry professionals. You will be expected to provide feedback and input to their project as they progress towards a workable solution over a 3-6 month period. The more involvement you have, the better the solution to the problem.
 
Please e-mail Mary Beth Privitera (privitmb@uc.edu), Bala Haridas (haridab@UCMAIL.UC.EDU) or Dan Kanter (KANTERDS@UCMAIL.UC.EDU) for more information.

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