Physician inventors have been in the forefront of some of the most important medical inventions in the last 50 years. These physicians have helped millions of patients and have become financially independent as well.
Dr. Richard Chesbrough will be speaking on physician inventing at the SEAK National Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference in Chicago on October 22-23, 2016.
Here is a recent interview with Dr. Chesbrough:
Q: Dr. Chesbrough, how important of a role have physicians played in coming up with medical inventions?
A: The role of the physician is critical. They are the ones that work on the “front lines,” taking care of patients, and are generally the first ones to understand the problems that they, and their colleagues, are facing on a regular basis. This realization becomes the impetus for developing a potential solution, or invention.
Q: What characteristics do physicians need to become a successful physician inventor?
A: They need to be persistent, and they need to devote some time to learning the process of inventing. In the case of licensing, a physician can maintain their “day job” and still get involved with creating new innovations. The key is to have a system; whereby the physician-inventor obtains provisional patent right and other protections, while “shopping’ the idea around to potential business partners.
Q: How can physicians come up with viable ideas for inventions?
A: The best way to come up with a viable idea is to focus on recurring problems that are affecting your own practice, as well as that of your colleagues. Then, understanding the issues, look to create a solution to solve the problem. In this way, the innovation actually helps to improve the physician’s own practice, and those of other physicians in the same situation. With a little bit of luck, the invention may turn out to be useful to a much larger audience.
Q: Do physicians need technical/engineering expertise to become a successful inventor?
A: No. Physicians should stick to their area of expertise and look to invent in that space. When they come up with an idea, they may want to hire someone to help make drawings of the invention. They should also spend some time writing up the rationale for the innovation and doing basic market analysis. Potential partner companies will need to know how big is the potential market, what makes this invention superior to competitors and what do similar products sell for. With this information, the physician is now ready to “pitch” his/her idea to selected companies that may be interested in a licensing arrangement.
Richard M. Chesbrough, MD is a nationally-known diagnostic radiologist, teacher and medical inventor. He is also a seasoned and successful medical inventor, with numerous devices currently being sold in the healthcare marketplace. Dr. Chesbrough’s UltraClip®, UltraWire®, and Chesbrough Anchor Wire ® devices are licensed to C.R. Bard and will gross over $27 Million this year in World-wide sales. His PathProof® surgical specimen container device is sold at over 165 hospitals, and is rapidly becoming a standard product in radiology departments around the country. Dr. Chesbrough also developed a Critical Test Result Management software program called R.A.D.A.R. (Report Alert and Data Accrual Registry). The program automates the process of sending an alert and collects an audit trail of events, to track the communication. R.A.D.A.R. was sold in 2011 to RadNet, a publicly-traded company based out of Los Angeles, California