Week 5: Implementation

This week, we made our way back to San Jose, the nation’s capital, for a Medical Device Implementation short course. The class was taught by our own Dr Richardson to the 8 GMI students and 25 professionals from medical device companies in San Jose. “Implementation” is the work that needs to be done after a device has been designed in order to get it to market. We talked about 8 different elements of implementation: product development processes, intellectual property, quality, manufacturing, clinical testing, regulatory, sales and marketing, and reimbursement. The class was structured such that we were to pick a publicly marketed device as a case study. We would receive lectures in the morning, then apply what we learned to our group’s device through activities in the afternoon. For example, when learning about intellectual property, we conducted patent searches for similar products to identify our IP risk.

After finishing the course, I feel that I have a much better holistic, bird’s-eye-view understanding of what goes on in a medical device company. One thing academia doesn’t do very well is give you a good understanding of how companies work. With internship experience, I knew a little about manufacturing, quality, and their role in the corporate landscape, but everything else was a black box in my mind. Moreover, my experience was not in the medical device industry, so aspects like clinical testing and reimbursement were especially alien to me. We didn’t have time to dive deep into any one subject in this class, but broad coverage of the whole process was helpful to start filling in gaps in my understanding.

At the end of the week, Establishment Labs, the company that hosted us for the week, was gracious enough to give us a tour of their facilities. That was an exciting way to end the week!

Looking ahead, next week we begin our internships at Boston Scientific! So far, all I know is that I will be working in manufacturing (with Josh), but I’m really looking forward to getting work at one of the largest medical device company in the world. I have two major goals going in: to start evaluating what role in a medical device company I would enjoy as a career, and to get as much experience in manufacturing as I can.

A preliminary tour of the Boston Scientific campus we will be working at

As I will be seeking full-time employment soon, I want to determine as soon as possible what roles within a company my skills and personality fit best with. I know I’ll get a good look at what a manufacturing engineer does, but I’m hoping I will also have access to professionals working in other parts of the company. Through my own work experience and getting to ask people about their work routines, I hope to learn as much as I can about the many roles an engineer can play in a medical device company.

Whichever direction I decide to pursue, though, I will benefit from having good manufacturing experience. Manufacturing is where the money is made, so in a sense everyone’s job is to make manufacturing better, just in different ways. Therefore, I hope to dive as deep into this role as I can this summer to support my future career.

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