Conference Seeks to Turn Healthcare Workers' Ideas Into Solutions

Innovation conference logo

Nurses are natural innovators. Because they operate on the front lines of the healthcare system, nurses are constantly pioneering solutions to the daily challenges their patients face.

From ingenious inventions to time-saving processes, nurses are full of ideas to improve patient health and experience. But they don’t routinely have the entrepreneurial tools and training needed to turn their innovative ideas into market-ready products.    

That’s why Duke University School of Nursing is teaming up with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to host a new Healthcare Innovation Conference on February 21. This daylong symposium will bring together engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs and investors from across North Carolina and the nation to help nurses and other healthcare practitioners navigate the path to turning their ideas into realities.

That step-by-step entrepreneurial path is reflected in the progression of conference sessions over the day. First, professors from Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering will lay out how practitioners can identify unmet needs that demand innovative solutions.

Next, product development experts will detail the process of generating and testing those solutions. Then, a panel of funding experts will discuss how innovators can identify grant funding opportunities and early investment.

After a keynote address from Sue Collier, a nurse who serves as vice president for innovation and clinical excellence at the North Carolina Healthcare Association, a group of inventors will share their personal experiences with bringing their ideas to market. Finally, the conference attendees will split up into smaller discussion groups to share their thoughts on the day, and to network.     

Hoping attendees leave with 'actionable steps'

“We are excited to partner with the Biotechnology Center to host the inaugural Healthcare Innovation Conference,” said Ryan Shaw, associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing and head of the school’s Health Innovation Lab, a state-of-the-art facility that develops and tests new healthcare technologies. “We have a great lineup of speakers to share best practices and insights into the innovation and development process, including inventors who will share how they are turning their ideas into marketable products. Our hope is that attendees will come away with actionable steps that they can use to make their innovations a reality.”

Corie Curtis, executive director of NCBiotech's Greater Charlotte Office, who helped organize the conference, said the Biotech Center's wide-ranging involvement in the state's life science community is reflected in the lineup of presenters at the conference. "It's interesting that three key participants in this inaugural event are NCBiotech loan portfolio companies InnaVasc, Uvision360 and COntinuous Precision Medicine," she noted.

Because value is increasingly sought in healthcare, more innovation is needed within healthcare systems, said Greta Brunet, NCBiotech’s senior director of investments, who also helped organize the conference. “Nurses are a key segment of front-line providers who often have a unique perspective on better ways for providing care,” said Brunet, a former physician assistant. “We hope this innovation education empowers nurses and other healthcare providers to take their ideas to the next step. We want to encourage transformation of these ideas into workable solutions that provide value to the healthcare system.”

The ultimate goal of the conference is to help nurses start building greater entrepreneurial capacity. When the best new ideas in healthcare arise, it’s imperative that they reach the widest possible audience of providers who can put them to use. The skills learned at this conference will let innovators jumpstart the process of bringing their original inventions where they are most needed.   

The Healthcare Innovation Conference will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 21 at the Duke University School of Nursing in Durham. The $85 registration fee includes all materials and meals, as well as admission to the Harriet Cook Carter lecture the previous night, featuring Dan Weberg of Trusted Health. To learn more and to register, please click here.

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 14:27