The Impact of Financial Support on Healthcare Innovation

Medical breakthroughs hold the promise of transforming lives. A new medicine, treatment, or innovation can save and change many lives for the better, alter the future of healthcare, and ultimately change the world. The most notable and most recent of these examples is the COVID-19 vaccine.

The role that financial support has in these discoveries cannot be overstated as many, or most likely all, would not be possible with them. Financial support, whether it be government funding or grants for universities, medical practice business loans for small independent practices, or seed money offered by investors, can encourage, or on the flipside, impede, implementation of the best practices out there.

Let’s recap some of the best, brightest, and not to mention the coolest medical advancements that have taken place in the health industry in 2023. While these aren’t all-encompassing, they give you a brief glimpse into what the medical future holds and what potential there is still to be discovered that can make a momentous difference in doctors’ and patients’ lives, given that the appropriate amount of support and funding is given.

Healthcare Advancements in 2023

  1. This past year, Johnson&Johnson created a new kind of suture that improves the speed and accuracy in which a doctor can stitch together a wound. In the past, the process has been that the doctor or nurse draws together the edges of the skin manually so that sutures and other tissue can fuse back together. However, holding tissues together with the tips of their fingers can be difficult to do, considering all of the other variables associated in minimally invasive procedures (like keeping the patient calm, for example). JNJ’s STRATAFIX sutures have come to the rescue as they were created with a series of anchors affixed to them, which assists the doctor in grabbing tissue and maintaining the proper tension needed to needle the wound back together again.
  2. Think about how important sounds are to the overall health of your body. From breathing to sneezing, to your heart beating, to even just being able to hear sounds in general through your ears, can tell us so much about our well-being. While doctors have for a long time been relying on these sounds, they have often needed to be face-to-face with a patient to make summations on what these sounds mean. To improve this vital health monitoring and to get rid of the need to have an in-person meeting with a doctor, which can be really tricky in the U.S. where healthcare is both expensive and time-consuming for someone living a normal, average lifestyle, Northwestern University has developed tiny wearables that attach to the body that can capture sounds and track health. Think apple watches but for sounds.While not ready for commercial use, this device could one day be mainstream. (But to drive a point back home, not without continued financial support).
  3. Besides the COVID vaccine, another vaccine you’ve probably heard of recently is the RSV vaccine. RSV is normally associated with babies or children but has extremely detrimental effects on the aging population, especially if already considered high risk. A new vaccine is now available for several different groups that can successfully prevent RSV from occurring. Even better, the FDA has also approved a maternal RSV vaccine, for those who are pregnant. They can safely be administered this vaccine during their third trimester. The antibodies from the vaccine can then be passed to the baby in womb and protect them from a multitude of sicknesses in the beginning months of their life earthside. This particular vaccine was thought to be one that would be readily developed  but it has taken many setbacks and over a decade to come to fruition. Funding had to to be continuously given to researchers to make sure this discovery.

Methods Researchers or Doctors Can Utilize To Secure Medical Funding:

Government Grants and Funding: Research grants from government agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or other federal, state, or local government bodies are a primary source of funding for medical research.

Foundation Grants: Many private foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, or American Heart Association, offer grants and funding opportunities specifically for medical research and healthcare projects.

Corporate Sponsorship and Partnerships: Collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, or healthcare providers can sometimes lead to funding opportunities, especially for clinical trials or research related to specific products or treatments.

Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe can be used to raise funds for specific medical research projects, particularly those that resonate with the public or have a compelling human interest aspect.

Clinical Trials and Contract Research: Participating in or conducting clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or contract research organizations (CROs) can provide funding, especially for private practice doctors involved in patient recruitment and management.

Venture Capital and Angel Investors: Innovative medical technologies or start-up ventures in healthcare can attract funding from venture capital firms or individual angel investors interested in healthcare innovation.

banking-finance-and-medicine_pexels-matthiaszomer-618158Bank Loans or Lines of Credit: Medical technology companies or smaller medical practices can secure medical business loans or lines of credit from banks to finance their operations, purchase equipment, or invest in research and development. Banks may offer specialized healthcare financing options tailored to the needs of medical practices, including flexible terms and competitive interest rates. Emerging finance technologies in the space may also offer medical business loans at more competitive rates or with quicker access.

Beyond advancements in medical technology (everything we hear about on the news), financial support plays a pivotal role in enhancing patient care delivery and practice management. Imagine a primary care physician looking to expand their practice to meet the growing needs of their community. With access to healthcare practice loans, this practitioner can invest in additional staff, infrastructure upgrades, and patient outreach programs, thereby improving access to quality healthcare services and fostering long-term patient relationships.

Similarly, access to capital enables practitioners to adopt innovative care delivery models such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and preventive health programs, enhancing both efficiency and patient satisfaction. And while medical breakthroughs often are at the forefront of news as they affect very many of the population, funding, in any variety, small or big, for large hospital networks, or very small private practice practices can also hold the key to advancement.

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Last Updated on July 24, 2024 by Marie Benz MD FAAD