Medical Device Design and Development Insights with Dr. Andrew DiMeo, Innovation & Design Coach at Trig

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Medical Device Design and Development Insights with Dr. Andrew DiMeo, Innovation & Design Coach at Trig

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I really thank you for tuning in. Today we have an outstanding guest. His name is Andrew DiMeo. Andrew is an innovation and design coach at Trig industrial design firm specializing in consumer insights design and branding for medical, durable and consumer products with a background in NYC Motion Pictures. Andrew's last 20 years are in medical innovation including 12 on faculty at UNC and N.C. State North Carolina. His students coursework led to multiple startups including 410 medical and M E D I C and winning national competitions from NCEES and the NIH. He founded the North Carolina Medical Device organization and co-founded EG Gelero. Worked for Alaris Medical Systems as a design engineer, served as a business adviser and speaker for the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and adviser to the NIHC3 eye program, director of Duke neuro innovations an on the planning team for BME idea. He holds a B.S. in physics English Literature and Secondary Education from UNC Charlotte and an M.S. in B.M.E biomedical engineering from UNC Chapel Hill and also a Ph.D. from UNC Biomedical Engineering Department. You've got a glimpse into this outstanding man and his contributions as well as his very interesting background but what I want to do now is open up the mind to Andrew himself to round out that intro anything that I missed Andrew so excited to have you on the podcast.

Well no, that was awful and very, very, very kind. So thank you so much stuff, nothing to add. I really appreciate you having me on here today.

Hey it's a pleasure Andrew. And you know you've you've been so focused and you've done so many interesting things in the space. What is it that got you into the medical sector to begin with?

Well you know I think I've always been service oriented. So you know my earliest memories of being in college was a tutor, tutor at risk kids in high schools. And I just love teaching, mentoring, tutoring. I don't know. Always been really interested in impacting people's lives to be healthy and happy. And I think I just found that being involved upstream at the Innovation stage of medical device design and development is where I found I could have the biggest impact.

That's pretty awesome. It's at your core and you've just found this this area where you could deliver on that core in a big way. You've obviously made a big splash in the industry work with very influential organizations and companies. Out of all the things that you've seen Andrew just kind of thinking of today. What would you say is a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda and how are you guys tackling that at Trig?

Mann So what I'm looking at is a question that's being asked during due diligence over the past decade and whether that's a big company and looking at there as the team due diligence or you know investors to make an investment in a startup. And over the past decade what I've observed is the question primarily going from, hey you you know what's your regulatory pathway to approval. That's what you used to hear. And then it haven't changed too. Is there an existing reimbursement tool for this. But to day to day I feel like I hear over and over again how will this change clinical practice and when I hear that question I feel like the bottom line is that the change from a fee for service to a value based healthcare system shifts the focus to improving outcomes reducing costs and really improving the overall clinical experience. So how do you impact that. How has that addressed. Our approach is to be part of the product development process early enough to truly understand all the stakeholders and to design a form and function into products to maximize the human experience. That's the thing I would be paying attention to today is really thinking about improving the experience for everyone involved and who's using and being impacted by the products that we're making.

I think that's a really interesting call out because when we are not at the initiation phase of that design process, I think we could lose a lot. So what you and your colleagues at Trig are doing is really sort of enabling this value based care through the design itself. Can you share with the listeners an example of how you guys are creating results by doing things differently?

It's about sort of a non dualistic approach or a holistic approach. I'm going to take a step back and say hey you know the last 12 years I've actually been on faculty at NC State teaching design and innovation and what it really came down to is multiple mindsets and collaboration and what I mean by that is you know we need to be innovative outside the box thinkers while at the same time being comfortable in a highly regulated environment. And that's not so easy to do to do both of those things simultaneously. We need to embrace all of the different mindsets that we ourselves can deploy or those that are on our team might have. So so things like exploring with a scientific mindset, solving problems with an engineering mindset, understanding users needs and generating solutions with a designer's mind. And considering the business case, the economics, the legal aspects are found that when this is done will this type of multiple mindset approach and collaborative approach. We have a real shot at developing iconic solutions.

It's that window wing approach right having different hats on. To be able to get the result that you're looking for.

Yeah, it's not compromising too. It's kind of interesting that oftentimes you'll hear sort of a non dualistic approach be a compromise you know like you've got to be confident but humble and you might say that in sports or something like No you don't need to be confident but humble, I'm going to be confident and humble, it's about getting all the way. Like all in all in outside the box and all in following the regulations right, you know it's really interesting when you can bring it together in a holistic sense.

It really is. It really is. And so you've taken this career and sort of you've been in and out of industry as well as academia which I think provides for a really cool mix of those two spaces. What would you say something that has happened already that you learned a setback in one of those areas that you learn from that's made you a better designer or a better contributor.

Yeah you know if I told you all the failures you probably have to start a whole new like failure podcast, failure rocket.

Failure rocket. Nobody wants to be on that one, right but we got to embrace it.

No but all kidding aside of course failed many times. And learning from those failures is really really important. And the one that jumps out to me when I ask this question is going back to my earliest days as a design engineer at Alaris Medical Systems, I was young, I was fresh. I didn't have any experience at all. And I was put on a project to lead and develop a new vacutainer and you know vacuntainer is like the vacuum filled container to draw blood.

Yes.

And the whole idea was, hey you know make this more user friendly for the phlebotomists make it more comfortable for the patient. You know you make it you know it could be done on one hand you know et cetera et cetera. And I went back and forth between patients phlebotomists patients, phlebotomists you know trying to understand how this product was going to be used. And got it, got it really far along into the product development process. And we were, we were making soft tools you know building you know production like products to get into the hands of the users and get some some really good feedback. And when you're that far and it's pretty expensive to the company. And as we get deep into the product validation and verification testing there was a hiccup and it was it did not fit in the centrifuge at the lab, headed it totally kill the project and it was just horribly embarrassing as a young design engineer.

That's tough.

It was and it opened my eyes early to this whole idea of really understanding all of the people that were going to be impacted by the product that you were developing and all the way down to this idea that that there's like real humans inside clean rooms assembling product all day long and you know what impact are you having on their lives. You know like are you causing these folks to have arthritis because you're designed something that is just a pain to put together. Who are the people working in the labs that are processing samples as they're coming through. You know it just really opened my eyes to have to have a full appreciation from you know initial sourcing and materials to disposal, you know what impact is this product going to have on people's lives. So yeah the lesson like the journey map following the patients, the payers the providers and all the impact of stakeholders. And considering every piece of that was a big big guy there for me.

That's such an interesting lesson. Andrew appreciate you sharing that. Wow. And I'm sure you've been able to pull from that experience to help all the designers that you've trained in your in your years as a professor there and now back in industry. I think the same problem applies listeners you can apply this not only to design but also a patient going through the care continuum you know whether it be an episode of care or just taking a look at them if you're payer or an insurance provider really and like Hey where are they going. Long term care where were they before. And it's the same process that we've got to keep in mind. Like Andrews is reminding us it's that big picture and understanding how to impact whether it be a design or a patient really great share. Andrew Thank you for that.

Thank you.

So you hit that big bump. The product did it and I'm not launching because of that?

Yeah it was a complete failure. You know we canceled the product.

You couldn't you couldn't have changed the size a little bit and saved it?

Now that just. Yeah wasn't that easy. And you had as far as like a new product development team was considered before you knew it I was pulled onto a sustaining project and you only get to cut your teeth so many times. Cradle to Grave product development project. I got to work on different projects there at Alaris, got a designed patent on a vial adapter you know worked on some really cool projects. But that particular one was just it just didn't happen.

Yeah. Hey I totally get it. And now you're better for it. You know we learn more from our setbacks than our successes. But let's talk about success. You've had a lot of those successes in your life in this medical field. Can you share with the listeners one that you're most proud of?

I guess coming into this especially over the past 12 years. My proudest moments have been when when the students have achieved some success you know won some national design competition. But the one that stands out to me is for ten medical and this is there's a story that exemplifies what happens when students and faculty make it real. Not an academic exercise. What happens when hospitals and caregivers open up their doors to collaboration. What happens when an entire ecosystem of academic and professional resources come together to move ideas from the bedside to the bench and back to the beds. So 410 Medical has a rapid infusion device for circulatory shock rapidly and fuse sailing through a hand pump. So this project started out in the classroom in my classroom many years ago with students doing observations at a local hospital and it turned into an international design excellence award for Trig, the company I'm working with now and how that made it from students observing a doctor to start up company to raising money, even just all the pieces coming together for this story including the local universities down here have angel networks so there's Duke Angel Network, Carolina Angel Network, Wolfpack investor network, Israel Lams and associated folks of the local university system who have no network to finance startups that are associated with the various academic institutions around here and in this particular case and 410 Medical. All three angel networks came together and invested in the product.

Nice.

Trig industrial design came in and took it to the finish line. We've got you know local manufacturing here in North Carolina Raveling medical one of the best contract manufacturers in the country right here in North Carolina and they're manufacturing it. So from from final manufacturing, packaging, distribution, all the way back to the day that it was conceived to the financing they got it there. It just took an entire village the villagers the RTP region to get this thing to market and it's saving little kids lives. And to think that what started up as a school project is saving, saving little children's lives now is just awesome.

That's awesome. Pretty story and 410 medical is that still the company's name Andrew?

Yeah yeah. 410 medical you look it up you can probably find it right like and I think it's for medical or medical care.

Love that folks if you're curious about 410 medical. one of Andrew's proudest accomplishments I've got a pretty cool website ,410medical.com ,saving children. Pretty amazing feat that you've done there with the collaboration of your students and local industry. And now you're at Trig which is kind of cool. Tell us about an exciting project that you're focused on at Trig?

Yeah you know so something that I'm really excited about working with some of the most amazing industrial designers in the world here. These guys are just unbelievable. But you know I've been tossed around this idea I called the diligence dashboard. I don't know if you're familiar with the business model canvas. To those that might have might have heard of business model canvas. It's like a visual aid to go through a business modeling exercise and really really useful tools. These visual tools, I've been dreaming up this dashboard that takes design thinking and put together diligence factors that you would for medical device product development like regulatory reimbursement intellectual property market and technical risk. And what I say about this dashboard is that industrial design plus the dashboard allow you to present a flight simulation mode before you ever take-off. So if you think about this if you can really define a really well unmet medical need and start to conceive of solutions for that need industrial designers are just brilliant. First of all understanding or defining that need and then coming up with realistic renderings of what the solution might look like. But before you ever spend a minute investing real hard design development resources into it you can start to map out these areas of risk and get a good visual understanding of what the journey is going to look like and see can you do the flight simulation mode on multiple options. See if you've got an opportunity to take off on one and then keep your eye on that dashboard while you're in flight too coz you're going to usually typically have to make some course corrections along the way. So that tool is something that I've been conceiving of for a long time but it's really taking the expertise of what's under the hood at Trig and putting it together with the deep medical device to and an experience to develop new new tools to help help get products to market.

That's pretty cool Andrew. Now if you're a an individual, a leader at a device company or some sort of medical device firm this may be something of interest to you. Go to trig.com. You'll see what the folks over there up to and end this project that Andrew has taken up is fascinating and you guys know Andrew with his background and experience great things are going to happen. Andrew This is exciting. And what's your roadmap like when are you looking to have this done by?

We're implementing it immediately. You know it's it's minimum viable product time. So we've got a version of the dashboard..

That's awesome.

That took us weeks soon as I joined..

Amazing.

Since I joined Trig you know we started packing it right away and it's been continuous, continuous improvement mode. So we're going to be adding to that. Sure.

I think that's so awesome man. And folks when you when you have a product like this that can help you derisk any of your investment. This is a worthwhile pursuit. Andrew this interviews just been a ton of fun man and the time flies. Let's pretend you and I are building a leadership course on design, what it takes to be successful in the med device design. The 101 of Dr. DiMeo.

You're speaking my language.

We're going to write out a syllabus my man and we've got a lightning round with four questions followed by a book or two that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?

Sure.

Awesome. What's the best way to improve the design in med device?

Specialization and collaboration it's that end. Right so it can be deeply specialized and collaborate. The best way to go about it.

What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Kind of the opposite of that. All in one all in on specialization or compromising to meet in the middle. I think compromise is the wrong way to go or giving too deep into anyone's specialty areas. There's also a big mistake.

Love it. How do you stay relevant despite all the change?

I'm going to go back to the diligence dashboard. Keep your eye on it. The importance of the indicators change over time. You know we talked about how we went from pathway to approval to the reimbursement. You know now we're really focused on the clinical experience. That's going to keep on changing and what's important on the dashboard is going to change. And so we've got to keep our eye on it, keep adjusting it never get comfortable with it.

I've been that's such a great Kholoud and as healthcare leaders we've got to understand the dynamic of these changes. And I really love what you've highlighted here for us in this dashboard right, whether it be a dashboard that you're working on as an organization you always got to keep it relevant. What scenario focus should drive everything in med device design?

Values. I think core values is the most important thing. At the end of the day where we're trying to improve and improve life extend life, it's about happiness, it's about health. So if we can stick to those core values and do good, then everyone will benefit.

I love that. What book or books would you recommend on the syllabus?

Definitely Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

You like riding?

You know I do and I have been in a long time. I love to ride motorcycles but really you know the book is this is really about. It's about classical thought processes and romantic thought processes as one thing, that they are not they cannot be separated and form and function. This is sort of this whole design thinking mindset form can exist without function and function doesn't exist without form. It's not some kind of compromise. It's not making something functional and then making it look good later. It's not about having something that's beautiful that doesn't function well. It's one thing it's one device that is given the have both. So this book is a really interesting exploration of what is good and what is quality and both a classical and romantic perspective. And I think it's a key read for anyone that's interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

There you have it folks take note of that and again you don't have to memorize what we just said. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/trig. You can find all of the shownotes, a transcript of our discussion and all the insights that Dr. DiMeo here has is sharing with us. Andrew this is this has been a true pleasure. If you can, I'd love if you could just leave us with a closing thought and then the best place for the listeners could get in touch with you.

Ok great closing thought. I'm going to say this if you're an engineer don't look for a doctor to find the problem to solve. And if you're a doctor you don't look for an engineer to solve your problem for years but work together work together to solve and unmet medical need for a patient that needs it and whether you're a doctor or an engineer designer or a business person or a scientist. Whatever you do for a living work together to solve real medical needs for the people that need those needs solved.

Love that. It's a strong message very consistent with the theme of the podcast today. And Andrew what's the best place for people to reach out collaborate or connect with you?

Feel free to email me andrewdimeo@trig.com, you can go to the trig.com website, you can find me there.

Outstanding and listeners will include that email as well as a link to Trig. But just to clarify Andrew DiMeo it's D I M E O.

Yes.

This has been a ton of fun. Again thank you for spending time with us to talk about design and med device and being impactful. It's been a really insightful discussion.

It's been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me today.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's outcomesrocket.health/podcast.

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Recommended Book:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Best Way to Contact Andrew:

LinkedIn: Andrew DiMeo, Sr.

Email:  andrewdimeo@trig.com

Mentioned Link:

Trig

EG Gilero

410 Medical

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