Health systems committed to providing quality patient care, medical education and research face innumerable opportunities and challenges to achieve the highest level of quality of care. One such opportunity that is sometimes overlooked is the commercialization of innovations conceived by the physicians and staff providing the best practices and other benchmarking factors that establish the highest standard of care.
Commercialization offices have long been established in universities and large academic medical centers. According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), university technology transfer offices reported receiving $2.6 billion in total licensing income in 2012. It is clear, therefore, that the collective efforts of inventors and institutional leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit may achieve remarkable results with appropriate policies and procedures in place.
Over the last decade, a variety of relationships with industry have brought new resources to support the translation of scientific discoveries and innovations from the laboratory to the bedside. These diverse, creative relationships have great potential to benefit the public as well as research institutions, their faculty and staff, and their industrial partners. For hospital leaders and researchers, it is important to remain strongly committed to the continued growth in these innovative and mutually beneficial relationships, all of which can be accomplished while safeguarding the principles of academic freedom and timely dissemination of information about medical breakthroughs and other important scientific developments.
Establishing the appropriate and requisite policies and procedures can further promote the mission and goals of an organization and allow physicians and other inventors to capitalize on the organization’s existing strengths. Innovations may qualify for patent protection, for example, in which case, it is in the inventor’s best interest to establish intellectual property policies and development strategies that capture and protect the valuable assets of your organization.
Building a culture of innovation and subsequently capitalizing on those discoveries and breakthroughs can result in additional revenue stream, and have innumerable positive consequences for hospitals and the community at large.