How to Get Your Healthcare Solution to Market

By Anna Lehner | October 12, 2017

You hear the word innovation every day, but maybe not when it comes to healthcare. The 2017 Klick Health Consumer Survey discovered just that. Only three percent of respondents consider hospitals as the most innovative and 17 percent for all healthcare fields, which also includes pharmaceuticals as well as health and wellness. When it comes to who should be most innovative, that number jumps to 40 percent. People want healthcare to be innovative, but don’t feel it is.

Getting an Idea to Market

There are plenty of ideas that sound great and can help the person who thought of it, but it may not be a solution for the masses. In order to understand what it takes to manufacture, sell and maintain a business of that magnitude you need a strategic partner who understands the business world.

At Medline, we partner in commercialization and bring our strengths to the forefront of an innovative product. We also understand that hospitals and clinicians are not in the business of making products. We are. The sooner we can get their ideas to our product teams the sooner we can get them the solutions they need for their patients. Patients want this. Nearly 50 percent think creative innovation in healthcare will mean better treatment and diagnosis in the next five years.

There are consortiums that help bring together healthcare providers, manufacturers and end users who are aligned in improving healthcare. Through these organizations Medline sees hundreds of innovative concepts, prototypes, startups and potential partnerships to continually expand our product offering. Clinicians are even turning to their local sales reps in hopes of connecting with the right product team. The reps are part of the process and understand they need to move that idea forward.

Great Ideas Meet a Market Need

A good idea is just that, an idea.  A great idea is beyond a whim. It’s the seed to a bigger plan where there is a proven market need. It also means easy adoption – especially in healthcare. New products have to fall into the natural workflow of clinicians. Their priority is the patient, not a fancy widget that costs more or looks cool.  We want a clinician’s eye for guidance. That’s why at this year’s Magnet Conference we’re showcasing an innovation immersion lab. Nurses can give hands-on clinical feedback on some of our newest products currently under development.

Bringing Experts Together

Some people are born to invent and build. Engineers and designers understand how gears and levers work. Clinicians know how people work. They know how hospitals work.  They bring us ideas they are coming up with from hands-on experience with patients. A clinician’s goal is to improve healthcare and to deliver the best care possible to their patients.

Clinicians at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia present their See IV.

For so long, healthcare has relied on teaching universities or labs for new ideas, but we must look to the people on the front lines. A clinician knows exactly how they want to use a product or if they want to use it. So when we have clinicians coming to our sales reps, we listen. We take those seeds of innovation and fertilize them into something we can scale. We’ve been creating medical products and a distribution network for more than 50 years.

Three million children are hospitalized each year, and when a facility as large and prestigious as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) comes to Medline and says,  “We have an idea. We believe in this idea. We need this for our young patients,” they have already demonstrated the market need. By collaborating with the CHOP’s team of clinical experts, our product experts were able to drill down their solution to a product that is marketable and usable by clinicians everywhere. That’s imperative in healthcare today where the elimination of variation leads to better outcomes.

Consider bringing different teams of experts together when you get an idea. Push that idea forward by identifying the right people to advance the concept. Collaborating can hopefully change the perception that is out there in healthcare innovation, and ultimately improve the patient experience.

There’s strength in numbers. If you and other clinicians at your facility or innovation team believe a product or solution can have an impact on your patient population, bring it to Medline and let’s see what we can do.

Categories: Expert Views, Patient Experience

Anna Lehner

Innovation Professional

Anna Lehner previously worked as the innovation manager at Medline where she worked to drive new and meaningful product development across all divisions as well as promoting a culture of innovation. Lehner previously managed Medline’s retail scrub line, ave™, and also worked in Medline’s ReadyCare division. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois.

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