I had the pleasure of publishing an article this month with the AAO-HNS Medical Devices and Drugs Committee on developing digital health technology. The article outlines advice for entrepreneurs interested in creating digital health applications or technology.
It was an honor to work with the chair of the committee, Dr. Anand Devaiah, as well as the esteemed Dr. KJ Lee, who is not only a key opinion leader in our field, but whose textbook nearly every ENT resident reads. I’ve posted screen shots here, but academy members may read the full article at www.ent.org/bulletin. Special thanks to Shameet Luhar of Vheda Health and Kyle Samani of Pristine whose start-ups I am a big fan of.
While the topic of patents is currently controversial in the entrepreneurial community at large, for medical device companies, it is crucial that you utilize patents fully to protect and capture the value of your intellectual property. Filing for utility patents to protect how your device works is obvious, but as this article notes, even the major players do not always understand the potential value of design patents. There is no reason to leave value on the table, and I think the article below is a great read.
(Full disclosure: I am related to one of the authors, but I think it is a great summary of the topic)
How Design Patents Strengthen a Medical Device IP Portfolio
One key point discussed is how the look and feel of a device can subtly drive brand loyalty. The obvious example of this is how many consumers just prefer the user interface of Apple products over Android products, despite the many benefits that android offers. In the medical realm, I can attest that surgeons are creatures of habit; once they are comfortable with the outcomes they can achieve with a device, they will be hesitant to switch, even to a device that is very similar or even better.