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Innovating across disciplines: report on a national workshop of stakeholders in Australia

The most effective innovations in healthcare require the input of multidisciplinary teams working from white board to bedside. Innovations must ultimately deliver tangible results in the real world. The skills required at each stage of the development from drawing board to bench top and from the lab to the clinic may be entirely unrelated. The key results at each stage also vary depending on perspective; they may be acclaim and awards, sales and profits or improved clinical parameters. As teams are enlisted on a specific challenge they each focus primarily on their own key performance indicators. In this paper we report the deliberations at a workshop involving a variety of disciplines working in healthcare. The participants emphasised the need for clear agreement on three aspects: the outputs of the project including the financial and intellectual property rights; the risks, costs and benefits; and the timelines for completion. A lead organisation must broker and maintain relationships ideally facilitated by an experienced project manager. The greatest challenges were highlighted as: the return on investment for commercial partners; the timelines for academic outputs; and the potential for disruption of clinical practice routines.


Moyez Jiwa, Alexander McManus, Alison Rieck, Oksana Burford, Cedric Dumas

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