When Innovation Meets Academia

As a Physician, you are trained to think a certain way and process information in a structured manner.  This thought process helps you diagnose clinical conditions and identify the optimal therapy based upon the diagnosis.  You start by evaluating the patient in a structured manner, performing a physical example, and then creating a differential diagnosis based upon the findings.  This thought process is inculcated to all medical students and residents, and the learning of this takes place within the culture of academic medicine.  This culture instills respect for medical students, residents, and attending physicians who are senior to you.

While this mentality is essential to training and mentoring high quality clinicians, it does not provide the more fertile proving ground for innovation.  Innovation, by nature, requires unconventional, disruptive thinking that challenges the established norms.  Academic medicine values structured thinking along a core set of medical principles.  The better one understands the medical principles and the established thought processes, the better one can create a differential diagnosis.

Hence lies a paradox for physician innovators: how to adhere to the culture of academic medicine while recognizing opportunities for innovation.

The paradox can be easily resolved when you realize that you can be both a great clinician and a great innovator.  To be a great clinician one must understand the medical fundamentals extremely well and understand when and how to implement these principles in patient management.  To be a great innovator, one must see opportunities for improvement; yet those opportunities do not become clear until a firm understanding of the clinical principles are obtained.

At Output Medical, we pride ourselves on establishing a strong, clinical culture.  We review the academic literature regularly for new trends in Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) care management.  Our unit economic model, in which we define our cost structure and protocols for use, are based upon set clinical guidelines.

Given our understanding of the clinical principles behind urine output and AKI, we are confident that our product will make an impact.  Further, we understand how key opinion leader Nephrologists would view this innovation relative to current standards for care management.  We have studied the existing AHRQ guidelines for current urine output management, and we understand how our device would support future research efforts.

Our fundamental adherence to clinical guidelines has allowed us to reach this point. We are both humbled and excited by the prospects of supporting clinical research efforts in oliguria and AKI management that will lead to the development of new guidelines and protocols for care management.