Remote patient-monitoring systems, wearable technology and virtual doctor visits are just a sampling of recent medical innovations aiming to address the heightened and increasing need for long-term care. But is the medical community actually ready for this demographic shift? From hospital visits to in-home recovery, modifications and innovative medical devices are needed in nearly every facet of long-term care — there’s truly never been a better time to develop a new idea for a medical product or device.
Across the board, the stage is set for new ways of addressing the growing need for long-term care, as the U.S. population struggles to have a clear action plan to address the rapidly aging baby boomer population. The medical community is searching for new products that not only improve the lives of those needing long-term care, but also their families, who are often caring for these aging individuals at the expense of their own livelihoods.
So how can you start developing products that will have a lasting impact on long-term care, and how can you ensure those product successfully make it to market?
To start, you’ll need to come up with a innovative product idea, while keeping in mind that not every idea will have powerful market potential or be worthy of your time. There is no step-by-step guide to coming up with great ideas, but there are certainly ways for inventors to get their minds thinking creatively, providing more opportunities for that ah-ha moment to strike.
Often, it’s not about what a person is thinking about, it’s more about how a person is thinking about something. Through concentration, exploration, observation, and interpretation, you can gather and synthesize valuable information that can spark a creative idea for an invention. Focus on the product successes in your area of concentration, paying careful attention to the daily pain points experienced by caregivers and aging patients alike. Often, the simplest solutions will ignite a creative spark.
Coming up with an innovative product idea, however, is merely the first step. Once you have an idea that has market value and interest, the real work begins.
Traditionally, to see an idea come to life, a person needed to have significant time to spare when securing patent protection and money to spend on marketing and product development. But the innovation industry is changing. There are new opportunities for idea funding and support, opening doors for more working medical professionals and everyday inventors to create, develop and market their long-term care medical device solutions.
We’re not saying the invention process is easy, but it can be accomplished when a person is given the right tools. From open innovation platforms, such as Unilever Global and Edison Nation Medical — the only medical device open innovation platform where anyone can submit a healthcare invention idea for full evaluation and potential commercialization — to online crowdfunding sources, such as SpigitEngage and Invested.in, anyone can have access to the resources and information needed to bring their ideas to life.
It’s virtually undeniable — long-term care innovation is experiencing tremendous growth, and exploring its innovation opportunities can lead to a transformation of long-term care delivery. But the question remains: Can we innovate fast enough to keep pace with growing older demographic? With resources for product inspiration and development, there’s no reason to shy away from the challenge.
Robert Grajewski is the Edison Nation Medical President.