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Navigating a New Era of Medical Innovation

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Executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, Gary Fingerhut, discusses the emerging era of medical innovation and commercialize new inventions and platforms.

Fingerhut opens by echoing a conference theme, innovation begins with empathy. A deep understanding of the humanity, the personal narratives, fears, and inspirations of patients, empowers better care and inspires hospital systems to treat people differently than in the past.

One insight: Even as big data aids healthcare, one fear of patients is that they are "talking to computers now."

"We take innovation seriously--and it's our groups mission to commercialize our findings," says Fingerhut. "We have to Global Innovation Centers, one in cardiology and one in blood.  We also host an annual conference."

The Clinic's mission is Patient's First. Their Innovation Scorecard form 2013 is impressive, including 2,500 Patent Applications, 450 Royalty Licenses, 66 spin offs, $768 in Equity Investments, 1,200 jobs created, and more--all through an innovation focus.

The Clinic has a vast portfolio of interests, from IT, to therapeutics and diagnostics, but 58% of new innovations are in medical device.

Their new INVENT(TM) Journey is their six-step process of assisting researchers to become market viable: This process begins "very early stage."

Unlike many tech transfer offices, Cleveland Clinic started a Peer Review Committee of clinical leaders for clinical and technical issues, not market issues. If an early-stage ideas passes a committee review, they get housed in an incubator. In the four incubators (in Med Device, Therapeutic, Health IT, and Delivery Solutions) ideas are developed, tested, and made ready for the market. Interestingly, there are no time constraints for teams within the incubators.

Throughout the process, emerging concepts are vetted by target patients. This human-centric approach helps refine the concepts iteratively along the path of development.

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