Uncharted territory

April 30, 2019

Inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places. Ideas can happen anytime, anywhere―how you bring them to life is how you distinguish yourself from the pack. For Dr. Matt Bromwich, asking the right questions and identifying the right problems was the key.

On this episode of Boldly, Dr. Joshua Liu, the co-founder and CEO of SeamlessMD, sat down with Dr. Matt Bromwich, ENT Surgeon and Founder and CMO of Clearwater Clinical, to discuss innovation in the hospital setting.

For Dr. Bromwich, it all started in his basement. Along with his wife, he started his first company which got them to branch out into many different projects.

Listen as he shares some of his best tips for physicians interested in innovation, such as: why is it best to start with a small idea? How does he manage his time? How do you find potential clients? Learn all of that and more in this episode.

tweetable: We’re doing it not just to make a profit but we’re doing it because we want to make a difference.

Key takeaways

How does a physician allocate enough time to both their practice and founding a startup?

  • You can only be good at something you give your all to.
  • Hire a CEO to focus on the business side.
  • Dr. Bromwich has a focus while working on his business: the health care side.

tweetable: I kept on trying to teach the patients how to treat themselves at home so they didn’t have to come back to the hospital.

Any advice for other physicians that want to become innovators?

  • Change is difficult. So is getting started.
  • Just like cleaning your room, things can look messier while you’re in the midst of getting it to a better place.
  • Know that there will be a lack of time, resources and a tight budget.
  • You might have to manage a conflict of interest.

tweetable: One of the big challenges, of course, is lack of time and lack of resources.

How can physicians better align their innovation to clinical business needs?

  • Choose a very specific problem.
  • Demonstrate impact.
  • Don’t expect to change everything at once.
  • The small changes you make will be recognized, and they’ll want more.
  • You need to build a strong team.

tweetable: What you’re doing is you’re starting with a problem where you’re like ‘Wow! we really need a better way to do this…’ and I think that’s (for me, anyway) the best way to innovate.

How do you get your innovation in the hands of a potential customer?

  • It’s important to do your research and prepare good presentations.
  • Tell everybody you meet about your project―some will end up being clients.
  • Meet people at conferences who have similar values.

tweetable: Spend time talking to people that want to go in the direction that you’re going already.

For more insights from Dr. Matt Bromwich and Dr. Joshua Liu, follow them on Twitter: @drbromwich and @joshuapliu.


Recommended resources

Technology that protects your hearing, a TED talk by Dr. Matt Bromwich.

Bring Your Breakthrough Ideas to Life, an article from Harvard Business Review by Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux and Michael Wade.

Don’t Give Up on a Great Idea Just Because It Seems Obvious, an article from Harvard Business Review by Andrew Forman.

Doctors moonlighting as inventors face unique hurdles to commercialization, an Ottawa Citizen article from the Canadian Press.



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Are you making waves in innovation or have a bold idea to share? We would love to hear your story. Connect with us at jouleinquiries@cma.ca to have your thoughts featured in a future podcast.

The opinions stated by podcast participants are made in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule. Joule does not endorse any views, product, service, association, company or industry mentioned in this podcast.

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