Anatomy of a Doctorpreneur: Doctor led Startups Part ⅖ The Idea

“Please report to the administrator’s office…”

It was the early 1980s and Dr Archie Brain was living in the nurses accommodation block. Whilst sprucing up his room, the cleaning lady had stumbled upon a collection of home made, orchid styled latex objects that had been hung out to dry. Suspicious of what use they might be being put to, she had reported the matter. Fortunately, Dr Brain was able to convince the administrator that it was all part of his legitimate research.

Prototype Laryngeal Mask Airways

Changing the world of medicine can throw up all sorts of unexpected problems!

Those of you with an interest in anaesthetics will recognise the name. Dr Archie Brain invented the Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA). He took it from an idea, to a listed company (LMACO) and an essential piece of life saving anaesthetic equipment in use all over the world! His story holds some interesting lessons for would be health innovators.

Welcome back for part ⅖ of my series of posts about the world of health innovation and startup culture.  There is a hope and belief that through innovation and the application of emerging new technologies, medicine can continue to improve health and wellbeing outcomes whilst also meeting the challenges of rising costs, complexity and demand. Artificial Intelligence, Social Networking, 3D Printing, Smart Devices, the Internet of Things… The list and possibilities go on.

These posts are based on my notes and reflections from the Doctorpreneurs day conference held at St Thomas Hospital London on Saturday 5th November.

Today we will examine that most vital piece of the anatomy of a medical startup… The idea behind it all.

Part one in the series was an exploration of the “Doctor Founders” behind medical startups. If you missed it then catch up here.


Where do health innovation ideas come from?

In essence, a health technology startup is built upon a solution to a problem or more specifically a need.

Doctors are exceptionally well placed to spot problems and to innovate solutions. Those without the valuable of experience working at the “coalface” of patient care are not so well placed to spot the unmet needs in healthcare.

‘Well all this holding of facemasks does seem to me to be a bit awkward really.’ – Thought Dr Archie Brain

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