A strong clinical need may still prevent innovation

Neel Sharma, Doctor,
January 09, 2015
Having recently completed the Singapore Stanford Biodesign programme, I found your piece particularly timely Paul. I would fully agree that the selection of an appropriate need is paramount with regards to the innovation process. If the disease in question is not a marketable burden, in terms of morbidity and mortality so to speak, then a need in this regard is not likely to attract potential investment from a stakeholder perspective. However based on my experience thus far, I would like to highlight the potential concern of subjectivity which appears to muddy the process. As a medical trainee, subjectivity is rife. Patient care, although evidence based in the vast majority of cases, may have alternative slants depending on experience and this experience varies from individual. Secondly, in an academic setting, some potential areas of exploration may be regarded as plausible whereas others may not; again this is to a large extent subjective. I am of the mindset currently that without translation of lab based science to a clinical setting, there really is little impact in reality, yet the clash in opinion between scientists and clinicians is one that is unlikely to dissolve anytime soon, despite my interest in unison induction. Similarly during my innovation based exposure, I was met with alternative agreements from a solution perspective. Despite the need being strong, clinicians contested the potential solution. Some were all for it whilst others were hesitant. It was clear that experience may have played a huge part. Doctors generally tend to stick to what they know and what they are most comfortable with from a practical standpoint; hence a reluctance to adapt to novelty may hinder the true value in a solution. My gravest concern in this regard is that successful innovation is really pot luck. Some solutions will conquer, but other potential ones may never reach the frontline. Without an objective conclusion to a solution, a well formalized need will still suffer to rise.

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared