Make Your Medical Product Ideas Come to Life: The User’s Needs and Your Product

Based on our discussion in the last column, we have to uncover the product attributes that are most meaningful to the user, whether that user is a physician, nurse or technician, and to the buyer—whether he is a purchasing agent or general manager. For instance, I suggested that we learn how users value price, efficacy, quicker procedure time, issues of storage, reuse, disposability, ease of ordering and receiving, and so on, for this kind of product.

If we have done our work and interfaced with buyers and users, perhaps we now believe we know what is important to them. Let’s say, for example, that we have determined that price, ease of use, efficacy, associated procedure pain, and disposability appear to be the things that are most important to the user, and buyers seem most interested in price and shipping times—plus the assurance that their users want the product.

So how do the competing solutions address these attributes? Notice I said competing “solutions” and not competing products. It is critical to compare your product not just to similar products, but to all the solutions currently being applied by users. It is also important to know what other solutions are in development but not yet in use. Some sleuthing is required. Google searches can be helpful, as many startup companies post simple websites which give hints about their work.

If we put these elements into table, and fill in the information, we might begin to see how each of the solutions addresses the market needs.
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Donda table

Where does your product fit? Are you able to offer important attributes that others cannot? If not, you need to rethink your product. But, wait, how do you know what your price will be? And what do you know about its efficacy and associated pain. In our next article will talk about answering these questions and more.

Big Ideas: An Article Series
donda Russ Donda is currently serving as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the life sciences at the Great Lakes Innovation & Development Enterprise, BioEnterprise and Jumpstart, and as Director of the Office of Community Technology Transfer at LCCC, Russ Donda has more than 25 years of management experience at both executive and entrepreneurial levels. Among other startup projects, Mr. Donda was the founding CEO and chairman of the board for ViewRay Incorporated, (, a company developing a novel form of radiation therapy. Mr. Donda was a founding member of, and co-chair of investment review for, the Emergent Growth Fund, LLC (, an angel investment fund focused on technology businesses; additionally, he was a founding manager of, and spearheaded business development for, the allograft implant company, Regeneration Technologies (, a privately held, for-profit spinout of The University of Florida Orthopedic Tissue Bank which went public after three years in operation. He is familiar with start-up operations, development related issues, intellectual property management, strategic planning and strategic alliance structuring, and is named as an inventor on 15 patents and applications.


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