The field of ophthalmology presents substantial opportunities to innovate. However, there are several considerations a physician must make before pursuing collaboration with industry. Below is a list of key questions I use to help me determine which projects and companies to invest my focus and efforts in.
Are you passionate about the technology? Consider the opportunity presented by the technology. Are you passionate about the device, and is it something you think will ultimately work to advance the field and improve patient care?
Who are you going to be working with? Assess the track record of the company you are thinking of partnering with, and learn about the funding opportunities: Is this a fresh startup idea, or is the project already reasonably well funded?
Will this make a difference? When looking at a particular technology or a new surgical device, consider its potential impact and whether it will be meaningful to the field.
Are these relationships going to last? As innovators, we are trying to positively influence the future of ophthalmology and the subspecialty of cataract and refractive surgery. Innovation can be extremely satisfying, but it requires positive, lasting relationships with industry partners.
Working with industry to progress a technology for the benefit of our patients is a great opportunity, and one that young physicians should not shy away from. Taking the time to evaluate the aforementioned factors will ensure your experience is a rewarding one.