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Understanding what the people that matter think of your technology and how to incorporate that into your research.
The list of stakeholders in the development of a new healthcare technology is long and diverse. All of those stakeholders have different (and sometimes conflicting) priorities and drivers and they will all need to be satisfied, to different extents, at different times, in order for your technology to successfully reach the end user. Effective stakeholder engagement is not just about telling people about your research or your technology, but about creating the channels for a reciprocal dialogue with the people that will interact with your technology and putting in place mechanisms to ensure that that dialogue can effect meaningful change in your research programme.
An approach to stakeholder engagement that engages the right people at the right time is the best way to ensure that your project remains grounded in real world needs and that the technology developed has the greatest potential for impact on health and wellbeing.
Understanding how to demonstrate that your technology does what you say it does and does so reliably.
Regulation and Quality
Before any new medical product can be made available to patients it will be required to demonstrate that it complies with the requirements set out by the relevant regulatory bodies within the territories where the product will be made available. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure, as far as is possible that a product is safe to use and that it performs in the manner the manufacturer says it does.
Meeting the requirements of the regulators is a significant undertaking and as a result dictates much of the downstream development process for healthcare technologies.
Understanding the legal, ethical and social challenges that face your technology.
The nature of research into health means that work in this area is far more likely to be controversial or to raise ethical concerns. Not only can this introduce practical barriers to your research, such as delays around ethical approval processes, but can also lead to significant legal, moral and public perception challenges which may inhibit or prevent new technologies from ever reaching the end user.
These challenges are much easier to address if anticipated and mitigated against and by allowing space and time to explore the broader societal issues surrounding your research you will be better placed to identify emerging challenges.
Understanding how to demonstrate, preserve and exploit the value of your technology.
Significant investment is required to take technologies from fundamental research through to marketed product. In order to secure this investment it will be necessary to demonstrate the potential of your technology to deliver a return on investors contributions. This requires a clear articulation of the potential opportunity through an assessment of potential value of the technology. It is also necessary not just to demonstrate the value of a technology, but to also protect the value of that technology to prevent it being lost or stolen.
Finally, a clear plan detailing the mechanisms by which that value will be realised will be essential in the longer term and will have implications for how you should approach your research in the shorter term, so is worth considering sooner rather than later.