Who uses the platform and how effective is the communication between its users?
Bujok: The users come from the commercial industry, science, and healthcare. The popularity increases every month even though we still have not fully completed the platform yet. In the next stages of expansion, we will include various interactive elements to improve the communication at the portal between users and operators. At the same time, we aim for direct communication with the users, for example during events and trade fairs such as the booth of the German government at the MEDICA. Within the realm of our possibilities, we want to strive for a good balance between online communication and face-to-face contact.
The webpage offers a so-called InnovationsLOTSEN (English: innovation guide). What is this about?
Bujok: We want to provide a detailed overview of the innovation process in medical technology with the InnovationsLOTSEN. The goal is a kind of guideline for innovators that addresses questions during the innovation process with the necessary approach. Together with partners and experts, we want to provide users an overview of everything that is needed for an idea to become a finished product. At the same time, we are the project administrator for health care management for the German Ministry of Education and Research and manage a multitude of research projects. In doing so, we keep noticing that even though small and medium-sized companies have the necessary knowledge in research and development, they are not very familiar with the processes and default risks in certification, reimbursement and market development.
What long-term goals are you pursuing with this project?
Bujok: The current focus is the government’s intent to promote innovations in the medical technology sector over the long term in Germany. Since the regulatory requirements and markets are becoming increasingly complex, you need to be well informed. What’s more, there is less and less demand for individual products and increasingly more demand for system solutions – which doesn’t make any of this any easier.
This raises many questions for medical technology as an industry. The platform is able to shine a bright light on relevant trends and drivers in a timely manner. We should be constructive and assist in shaping the changes in the health care industry. I believe innovation policy is headed in the same direction as the overall industry.
The platform’s long-term goal is to contribute, to provide more information for the industry and to maintain the innovative capacity of the small business sector. The industry and its surrounding environment are undergoing very dynamic and sustainable changes. This requires an online portal that keeps all stakeholders informed and supports them.