Applying MEM in the Field: Medical Innovations

Everyday, millions of catheters and surgical wires are used during surgeries all over the world. Surgeons face the difficult task of attaching a catheter or surgical wire to the patient’s body, but after surgery most of the patients experience micro-migration of these catheters and wires due to natural body movements. This leads to infection and at times, opening of the wound. At Alexander Medical Anchors, Inc., we are trying to solve this problem and bring a product to market that would help surgeons better secure catheters and wires in position, reducing the chances of micro-migration and infection in patients.

Diagram of Surgical Anchor

The surgical anchors project has been a perfect opportunity for me to utilize the skills and knowledge I have gained through MEM and NUvention Medical. Not only did it provide me with an opportunity to utilize my past experience from the healthcare industry, but it also gave me a chance to refine my business development and project management skills. When Dr. Alexander introduced the problem of wire and catheter anchoring and made us aware of the magnitude of need, I was excited to take the challenge and work on innovating a solution.

Dr. Alexander has provided significant input throughout the project and ensured effective communication. He lets the team take charge of their responsibilities and gives a free hand to make decisions. After a thorough meeting on the project’s requirement and scope definition, I took the business development and project management responsibilities for the new product, along with Andrew Nachenberg, who is also a current MEM student.  Having Prof. Werwath on board as our supervisor helped us learn from his rich experience and leadership skills. In addition, we had Andrew Saloutos and Jovan Kangrga (students from the Segal Design Institute) to help us with the patent search and conceptualization. Working with Andrew Saloutos and Jovan on the patent search and white space identification under Prof. Gatchell and Prof. Brown’s guidance was a rich experience full of learning and new insights. While I coordinated design control activities with the design students, Andrew Nachenberg did a thorough market analysis which helped us to narrow down our focus on the particular application of surgical anchors.

In addition to utilizing management skills, the surgical anchors project provided an outstanding teamwork experience. After completing an intense patent search and defining the white space, we look forward to creating a robust solution to solve the need caused by shifting catheters and wires. The project has been a great success under Prof. Werwath’s supervision so far, and I excitedly look forward to its further progress this fall.

About the Author:
Yash Kaushik is a full-time student in the Master of Engineering Management program at Northwestern.  His Bachelor’s degree is in Mechanical Engineering. He possesses over five years of rich experience in new product development, risk management, and operations excellence in healthcare as well as the automotive industry both in the US and India. Prior to joining Northwestern, Yash worked for four years as a senior engineer in research and development for Stryker Corporation and for one and a half years as a process design engineer in new product development for Minda Corporation. Currently, he is seeking full-time opportunities in MedTech and healthcare consulting.

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