“Biodesign changed my life. I’ve always had a passion for health care innovation. That’s where I want to make an impact. Before biodesign I didn’t have a full idea of how to accomplish that. Now I know how to find an unmet clinical need, invent a solution that meets that need, and then ultimately implement a strategy and bring it to market so it can improve the health of those around the world.”
-Lily Truong, CEO, Clear Ear
Ever since Archimedes famously leapt out of his bathtub or Newton experienced a beneficial bump on the head, it’s been easy to think of innovating as an innate skill waiting to emerge. However, these “Eureka” moments are as much a byproduct of understanding your environment — and all the challenges it contains — as they are of sitting under the right apple tree at the right moment.
For anyone seeking to send ripples throughout the health care landscape, where the industry is ripe for transformation, there’s reassuring news. With the right combination of mentorship and resources coupled with an enabling ecosystem and a well-defined curriculum, it’s possible to craft a pressure cooker for innovation. The most important ingredient? Bright, fearless individuals who relish the thought of extending themselves beyond their discipline and embrace failure as an instructional experience.
Who we are
At the Texas Medical Center, we want to help those people change the world. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of our innovation fellowship program — TMC Biodesign. By bringing together accomplished individuals from diverse backgrounds to create novel digital health solutions and new devices, we believe we can accelerate the discovery of unmet needs and spur commercialization.
In our increasingly multidisciplinary world, the need for bringing together different skillsets in health care is paramount. Barriers between different sectors that were once rigid are now dissolvable, allowing for unprecedented collaboration — especially in health care, where silos loom large. TMC Biodesign is tailored for this new paradigm. Our Fellows are out-of-the-box thinkers with wide ranging abilities and we position them to make a measurable impact in health care.
The recipe for biodesign
Seeking to determine some of health care’s biggest unmet needs, our Innovation Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, including engineering, medicine, business, computer science, design, and research.
While in the program, they follow the established biodesign model developed by Dr. Paul Yock at Stanford University. This yearlong process gets at the heart of what great innovators do: identify, invent, and implement.
1) Identify a problem that needs solving. Our Fellows observe patients and health care professionals in a specified clinical setting, pinpointing obstacles and opportunities within that area. Shadowing experienced practitioners helps innovators gauge the potential for improvement and highlight commonplace medical problems that could benefit from a fresh perspective.
2) Invent your solution. After identifying a range of unmet needs, our Fellows brainstorm and ideate potential solutions. Throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, they will prototype multiple designs and continuously iterate throughout this stage, guided by the mentorship of clinical and entrepreneurial advisors.
3) Implement across the marketplace. Now our Fellows are charged with bringing their prototype into the world. After the spark of the initial idea and the process of building it out, our Fellows carefully consider how their solution fits into both the existing market and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Houston.
A playground for innovation
Scanning the horizon of the Texas Medical Center — a distinct panorama of buildings comprised of 21 renowned hospitals that receive 7.2 million patients every year — it becomes clear that TMC Biodesign Innovation Fellows possess the ultimate advantage: unprecedented clinical access to the largest medical center in the world.
Housed in TMCx, the Texas Medical Center’s health care startup accelerator, TMC Biodesign will feed into the evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem taking hold in Houston. Stanford has already spun out many successful startups through their biodesign program — two of those startups, Clear Ear and Gauss Surgical, are currently part of our accelerator’s inaugural class.
We believe in this model, and recognize biodesign’s potential to reinvent the future of health care — particularly when it comes to the emerging field of digital health. It’s our mission to incubate the biodesign methodology in the right environment, with the right resources, and for the right people. We hope that you’ll help us position the next generation of biomedical innovators for their own “Eureka” moments.