Plastic — be that a new compound, tool, or process — will be the key to making most breakthroughs in medical technology actually happen, writes Doug Smock for Plastics Today. So where is the market headed in 2012? He suggests that a good place to look is the list of Top 10 Innovations of 2012 unveiled at Cleveland Clinic’s 2011 Medical Innovation Summit.
Here is how Angela Townsend of The Plain Dealer describes this year’s summit:
It’s a gathering of technology, medicine and business that over the years has grown in international stature. Now in its ninth year, the assemblage will include machine matching wits with man and various arms of industry associations and competing businesses appearing — in some cases, for the first time — side by side.
More than 1,000 health-care leaders from across the country are convening in Cleveland [in the first week of October] to discuss emerging cardiovascular technologies at a hospital system widely regarded to have one of the best heart care programs in the world.
Can using technology such as Watson, the Jeopardy!-winning computer, help patient care? That was one discussion. Among others, the speakers and panelists at the meeting were CEOs from companies that make medical devices such as GE, Pfizer, Thoratec Corp.; and HeartWare International, Inc. Conference organizers told The Plain Dealer that one panel for discussing regulation would include for the first time ever leaders of three major industry associations that represent pharmaceutical research companies, biotechnology, and the medical technology industry.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a history of heart disease, represented the patient perspective for one panel discussion. “In 2010, he underwent surgery to implant a left ventricular assist device — a mechanical pump that does the work of a failing heart,” Townsend writes.
Townsend notes that the innovations that made the list were gathered from nearly 150 medical breakthroughs that doctors from the Cleveland Clinic nominated for the honor last spring. “The list is meant to signify advances that will most likely reshape health care in the coming year,” she writes.
Smock describes the four criteria that the Cleveland crew used to decide which innovations made the list. Smock wrote that “nominated innovations were required to”:
* Have significant potential for short-term clinical impact (either a major improvement in patient benefit or an improved function that enhances healthcare delivery).
* Have a high probability of success.
* Be on the market or close to being introduced.
* Have sufficient data available to support its nomination.
The full list of innovations, complete with video explanations, is available online. The innovations range from mobile device apps to kidney catheters to control hypertension to bionic prosthetics to genetically modified mosquitoes.
Source: “Medical Musings: A 2012 forecast for medical products,” Plastics Today, 10/19/11
Source: “Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit opens Monday,” The Plain Dealer, 10/2/11
Source: “Cleveland Clinic Model of Medicine,” YouTube
Rachel Petkewich is a freelance science writer and editor. She has worked as a research scientist in the chemical industry and spent eight years as a staff writer and editor at various science journals and magazines, including Chemical & Engineering News.