No one knows clinical care requirements better than the clinicians themselves. On the front lines around the clock, clinicians know exactly what would make patient care safer, more effective, and more comfortable. This is what makes clinician-led product innovation so valuable. 

Your clinicians have great ideas about product improvements and innovations – make sure your health system has a partner who can bring those ideas to life. At ASP Global, we bring clinicians’ ideas to the product designers and manufacturers who can deliver high-value, customized clinical supplies. We lead product development and sourcing by listening closely to clinician experts.

We saw inbound innovation requests from clinicians double this year, and we look forward to helping even more clinicians improve care next year.

We took a look back at our clinician-led product innovation and identified three types of product development enabled by our unique business model:

1) Create clinician access to new products:

Clinicians at some of our health systems have identified a need for a niche item that could make a huge impact on patient care, but needed help to source an affordable version, especially for low-volume purchases. Clinicians at a large not-for-profit hospital in the southeast launched this type of project when a nurse leader on a thoracic surgery unit saw a need for electric toothbrushes. Her post-op patients have less pain and better oral care when using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual brush. We worked with a manufacturer to supply a small quantity of electric toothbrushes at an affordable price through normal supply chain channels, helping this nurse to deliver better care.

Question for Supply Chain Leaders: How do you source new, low-volume products that aren’t “in the catalog” from your GPO or distributors today? Are your clinicians making any retail purchases?

2) Give clinicians control over design for existing products:

Clinician-led product innovation makes existing products work better, for the clinicians themselves and for their patients. Health systems request clinician input for many clinical supply decisions, but typically ask clinicians to just choose between existing products. Few health systems ask clinicians what changes they suggest in these products.  Reframing the question, from “which one” to “tell me what’s best”, and then delivering a product built to their specifications can deliver clinical-quality improvements with cost improvements, as it does with our clinician-designed slipper socks. Clinicians told us that existing slipper socks didn’t have sufficient non-slip tread coverage on the sole, leaving patients at risk of dangerous falls.  The clinicians also told us that the socks were hard to fit properly, and that they often opened many packages to “try on” socks at the bedside. Our direct connection to the manufacturer let us deliver a better slipper sock to this health system, with the right tread coverage and a new easy-to-use fit chart. The socks fit and did not slip, thanks to the clinicians who told us what they needed.

Question for Supply Chain Leaders: Do you ask your clinicians to describe their ideal product or do you only ask them to choose between existing options preselected by your supply chain partners?

3) Help clinicians prototype novel products:

Tap into your clinicians’ imaginations and professional expertise to create novel solutions.  Sometimes the best solution doesn’t exist in the market yet. At one of our health system partners, a nurse specializing in central line care saw patients’ discomfort with their apparel options. Streetwear does not offer sufficient line access for care, but inpatient style gowns weren’t the best option either. Because existing patient apparel companies didn’t offer the right solution, she developed a concept for a shirt with multiple line access openings herself. ASP Global brought her concept to life with a prototype, fabric and closure samples, and fit guidance. The prototype is under evaluation by the clinical unit and the supply chain organization. We’re excited to support this project for launch in this health system for patient comfort, and for their potential to commercialize the product beyond their system.

Question for Supply Chain Leaders: Do you have a partner with product design, prototype, and development capabilities?

When a clinician comes to you with a great idea, make sure you have the right partner to call to help bring their concepts to life. At ASP Global, we listen to clinicians and specialize in clinician-led product innovation, giving health systems control over product quality, design and cost. To learn more about how we can bring your clinicians’ best ideas to the bedside, contact our product innovation experts at info@aspglobal.com.