"Idea campaign" launched to grow pediatric medical device market

An online "idea campaign" has been launched to promote innovation in the pediatric medical device market, which experts say has a higher demand than supply.

The eight-week campaign was launched by the Kansas City, Mo.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Lucile Packard Foundation's Pediatric Medical Device Innovation fellowship team, which includes John Avi Roop, a Kauffman Foundation pediatric medical device innovation fellow and surgical resident Kevin Chao, MD.

Officials said the goal is to harness the creativity and collaboration of groups of people, and to shorten the time it takes to get solutions to market.

"There is a trio of barriers that limits the availability of pediatric medical devices," said Chao. "There are very small markets in a heterogeneous population with high regulatory hurdles and poor payer mix. This perfect storm of barriers makes it hard to create a sustainable business, or get investors excited. We are bringing people together in a forum that encourages them to contribute and share their ideas freely. This is a radical departure from what people are used to in the business or medical world. By leveraging people's collective passion, genius and creativity we can hope to achieve something worthwhile."

"The power of idea campaigns like this is to enable people who previously had no voice in the early stage innovation process," added Rick Bess, CEO, PreBeta, an innovation services company based in Silicon Valley, Calif. "The spark for an idea often comes from unexpected people and places. For example, a family doctor, operating room nurse or a pediatric patient's family can contribute. Medical R&D organizations can then run with the most promising ideas, innovate new technologies, and bring commercial products to market."

The idea campaign can be accessed here. There is no cost to participate, and the online community has transparent access to post, view, vote and comment on ideas. The eight-week campaign will end on April 21.

"We invite people to participate by posting and voting on ideas and building on input," said Sandy Miller, director of advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. "The simple act of voting will help the most popular concepts rise to the top. We are trying to garner insights and bridge communities around the world to bring solutions to children who need them."