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Biodesign is an interactive course of study providing students hands-on experience in medical device innovation; we are pleased to be embarking on our 5th year offering this course.

Medical device innovations that would have been considered science fiction a decade ago are already producing new standards of patient care. Innovation leading to lower cost of care, minimally invasive procedures and shorter recovery times is equally importance to healthcare business leaders, educators, clinicians, and policy-makers. Innovation is a driver of regional economic development and wealth creation in organizational units ranging in size from the start-up to the Fortune 500 companies. In a broader context, the pace of translational research leading to product and service innovation is highly interdisciplinary, thus, new products and services result from team efforts, marked by a systematic, structured approach to bringing new medical technologies to market and impacting patient care. In this course we examine medical technology innovations in the context of (A) addressing unmet clinical needs, (B) the process of inventing new medical devices and instruments, and (C) subsequent implementation of these advances in patient care. In short, the student learns the process of “identify, invent, implement” in the field of BioDesign.

Course registration is open!

In SIS search for IIME 472, BioDesign, class number 4695.

The draft course syllabus for IIME472 for the Spring 2014 session is provided here. If you have specific questions about the course or registration please contact:

Note: Medical School Students; YES you can register for P/F and YES the schedule will accomodate your block schedules for the fall. This is not a new issue and has been worked through sucessfully in the past.

Classes: Nord 400, 6:00pm - 8:45pm on Tuesdays, beginning January 13th, 2015.

Overview and Approach

The field of biomedical engineering has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception as formal discipline with Universities a mere 4 decades ago. Indeed, in recognition of the value that the practical application of biomedical knowledge can yield, many regions of the country now strive to excel to become “centers of biomedical innovation” for regional economic development benefit, among other reasons. At the root of successful biomedical innovation are three facets of an ecosystem that are used to frame the current course of study:

  • Many - if not a majority of – ideas leading to medical device innovation are derived from issues that arise during the daily activities of a clinician. Whether is frustration with the use of a specific surgical instrument, processes that interfere with health care delivery, or materials inadequate for intended outcomes, an ecosystem where practicing medical professionals can engage with engineers is a primary precondition for fostering innovation.
  • Medicine is a highly interdisciplinary field centered on patient care. Some of the most successful innovations are those with patient care objectives at the forefront of thinking (not research career objectives) based on an interdisciplinary mindset. Pretending does not do the trick; there is no substitute for cutting across organizational boundaries and genuinely embracing teamwork in the problem solution process.
  • Despite many myths about innovation and creativity, quite a few processes related to medical device innovation are marked by systematic, structured approaches that can be learned. These are amenable to a University setting as each student can, in fact, acquire and improve the requisite knowledge and critical thinking skills on the subject.

The structure of this course provides each participant a hands-on, first-hand experience with the three principles of innovation described above; more concisely captured in the phrase: “identify, invent, and implement.”

In very short order it will be clear this class is not about the abstract presentation of theories, abandoned once the final exam has been completed. Rather, the course begins with an introduction on “unmet clinical needs.” The first assignment is centered on your individual efforts to shape and articulate a medical need through a formalized “needs analysis.” This initial phase of the course is followed almost entirely by team activity. Students are subsequently grouped into project teams (3-4 members/team) to drive forward projects culminating in a “pitch” to venture capitalists and a business plan submission.

We sincerely appreciate the guidance and support that Dr. Paul Yock, Stanford University, has provided during the initial launch of this course.

BioDesign in the News

A few articles have been written about the BioDesign Program at CWRU that provide some insight on the program of study.