Commercialization, it needn’t be a dirty word

Often our biggest ideas come from unlikely places. And they don’t always come before a project is conceived. Sometimes, they appear somewhere along the way―even through bringing your product to market.

 
Joining us on Boldly this time is Dr. William Parker, resident in radiology and former Chief Medical Officer for Salu Design Group. He sits down with guest Dr. Dale Podolsky, engineer and resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He walks us through founding Simulare Medical Corp, what led him to commercialization and how that process triggered one of his biggest ideas.
 
Your next big idea is coming. You might even stumble upon it unexpectedly. Giving yourself the appropriate time and support to get it out can make a world of difference. If you took even one hour per week to work on that idea, it could snowball into something fruitful. Don’t believe us? Take it from our guest.
tweetable: One of the biggest challenges for physicians is time and having the resources and the confidence to pursue ideas.
If you have some preconceived notions about commercialization…you’re not alone. This episode digs into how commercializing your products can be motivating―and inspire you to improve your project further. 
 
It might even help you spark an idea to carve your own path in the entrepreneurial space.
 

Key takeaways

What inspired Dr. Podolsky to found Simulare Medical Corp?
  • Having the time and space to think through problems and solutions to big health care questions.
  • Spending a lot of time in a lab developing a professional, quality product.
  • Commercialization was the best way to get it out of the lab and into the hands that could use it.
  • There were barriers that made commercialization a challenge.
tweetable: It’s the right ingredients coming together at the right time.
Are there more or less barriers to physicians becoming entrepreneurs and commercializing their ideas? 
  • As a physician, you’re already credible in many ways. This is an advantage.
  • Institutions are becoming more progressive in their policies.
  • A big challenge for physicians is time, resources and the confidence to pursue ideas.
tweetable: It seems as if there is a shift in how physicians are looking at entrepreneurship and commercialization.
Any advice for other practicing physicians looking to find time to pursue entrepreneurship?
  • The ability to research full time helped it all fall in place.
  • For those with less time, there are usually small opportunities to make time.
  • Budgeting a small amount of time every week, even an hour, can help with those pursuits.
tweetable: If it stays in the lab…what’s the point, right?
Without making the effort to commercialize his product, would it have been equally successful?
  • The product probably wouldn’t be as refined as it is had he not made that effort.
  • Although it required additional effort and due diligence, knowing it would be used by so many surgeons was motivating for him. 
  • Sometimes you stumble onto something that ends up being very valuable to progress.
  • A lot of things have to go right to make it happen.
tweetable: I think this is how a lot of these things work, right? You kind of stumble on something that is very very valuable that may not have been your original intent.
Could he have helped these surgeons in the same way without commercialization?
  • The short answer is no—he does not think it would have been possible.
  • There has to be a means for people to get access to your product. 
  • For him, commercialization was the key to help make it available to its intended user.
tweetable: It’s important to be very honest about what you are doing.
Is there a conflict-of-interest with this type of commercialization?
  • If you are open about your disclosures, no one can really fault you.
  • There is a growing acceptance with commercialization. And that’s very important.
  • Right now, it is more common in plastic surgery to embrace some of these ideas.
  • Even if there was to be a conflict-of-interest, it can still be done with the best interest of the patient in mind.
tweetable: I still believe that I can do academic, non-biased research while commercializing a product.
 

Recommended resources

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Are you making waves in innovation or have a bold idea to share? We would love to hear your story. Connect with us at jouleinquiries@cma.ca to have your thoughts featured in a future podcast. 
 
The opinions stated by podcast participants are made in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule. Joule does not endorse any views, product, service, association, company or industry mentioned in this podcast.

About the author

Joule Inc.

Joule, a CMA subsidiary, is at the hub of Canada’s health care innovation eco-system. Having brokered key relationships amongst system players, we are able to identify, curate and create digital solutions. We empower the adoption of digital innovations that have the potential to improve access to health care for all Canadians.

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