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Q: For clinicians and aspiring entrepeneurs with an idea for a medical device, what are the first steps to take toward serious development?

In today’s rapidly changing market, clinicians and aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea for a medical device should first be very clear in understanding the problem they are solving for the customer. Often, clinicians and entrepreneurs are eager with what may be the “next big thing,” hoping to match, or even exceed the success they’ve seen with so many others. What may be lost, though, is a clear view of what problem they’re trying to solve.

Too often, individuals believe they see an opportunity and want to move quickly, but don’t take the time to dig deeper into understanding the voice of the customer. In these cases, an idea may be accelerated toward development, with significant resources invested, without completely developing the required understanding to inform such development. Of course, the customer may not always be the individual who purchases the device. A customer may be defined as anyone who will be influenced by the device – perhaps the nurse, clinician, doctor, patient, or hospital administrator. At Portescap, we’ve seen many examples of organizations that have moved quickly in the beginning, but without the proper foundation for success. Essential for the development of any successful medical device is a deep understanding of the problem that the device is solving, with a clear view of the customer, whoever that customer may be.

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