Dr. Emily Blum

By: Emily Blum, MD, Medical Director, GCMI


The Challenge: Innovation Roadblocks in Pediatric Care

Hospitals are brimming with brilliant ideas from healthcare providers who have a deep understanding of patient challenges. Innovation directly addressing unmet clinical needs provides a superior foundation for new technologies, increasing the likelihood of improved patient care, positive outcomes, and commercialization potential.


However, the specialized knowledge needed to turn these ideas into real-world medical devices is often missing. The regulatory requirements, design complexities, and the relatively smaller market for pediatric devices all add unique challenges. This disconnect limits the number of groundbreaking solutions that make it from concept to improving the lives of young patients.


GCMI Senior Design Manager Marty Jacobson and I served as invited faculty for a recent professional development course at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals Professional Development Course empowers CHOP’s clinicians and researchers to bridge the gap between frontline healthcare insights and tangible medical device solutions—especially for the unique needs of children.


Students in the Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals course join a community of innovators at CHOP and beyond. Image credit: Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

The Opportunity: Clinicians as Agents of Change

Both GCMI and CHOP recognize that healthcare providers possess an unparalleled potential to drive innovation. The Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals course was designed to systematically unlock this potential by equipping clinicians with the tools and framework needed for successful healthcare innovation.


GCMI’s Role: Sharing Proven Strategies and Frameworks

Our team covered vital elements of GCMI’s proven medical device development framework, adapted to the specific needs of pediatric innovation. Key takeaways included:


  • The Power of a Focused Problem Statement: Defining unmet clinical needs with laser focus is essential for guiding innovation, providing direction without prematurely narrowing down potential device solutions.


  • User Needs as the Core of Design: Understanding user needs must be central to the entire design process. GCMI understands the importance of clearly defined user needs for efficient and comprehensive designs and quality documentation.


  • Navigating the Regulatory Maze: Early awareness of the FDA’s requirements streamlines device development. Understanding what kind of data and documentation will be needed saves time, costs, and prevents surprises later in the process.


  • Structured Ideation: Brainstorming sessions are most valuable when guided by proven techniques that turn raw ideas into actionable concepts.


The Outcome: Empowering CHOP’s Innovators

The course leaves CHOP’s clinicians equipped with greater confidence and a practical roadmap for leading future innovation projects. This has the potential to significantly increase the success rate of new devices, positively impacting pediatric patient outcomes.


Why GCMI? A Track Record in Pediatric Innovation

GCMI is a recognized leader in medical device development, with a special emphasis on pediatrics. This expertise comes from extensive collaborations with leading institutions like Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. GCMI’s focus on fostering innovation ecosystems within hospitals aligns perfectly with CHOP’s vision.


We see incredible potential in clinician-driven innovation, especially for children with some of the biggest unmet healthcare needs. Collaborating with CHOP lets us share our experience and contribute to their goal of building a thriving environment where great ideas can become great solutions.


The Future of Pediatric Care: Driven by Collaboration

The collaboration between GCMI and CHOP illustrates the power of partnerships that combine medical device expertise with the daily experience of frontline healthcare providers. This model is a blueprint for hospitals and organizations seeking to accelerate innovation and ensure tomorrow’s medical technologies address the most pressing challenges in pediatric care.


Get in touch. It’s never too early. Want to transform your ideas into solutions? Contact GCMI and let’s build a robust innovation ecosystem within your hospital or health system.