Western Medical Innovation Fellow teams up with Mayo Clinic Medical Student to win Innovation Sprint prize

on March 3, 2021

Michael Lavdas, MESc’20 and member of the current cohort of Western Medical Innovation Fellows along with Mayo Clinic medical student David Soriano scored second prize in a two-day Innovation Sprint. The sprint was designed to encourage collaborative innovation at Mayo Clinic and engaged experts in information technology, clinical practice and business users to form cross-disciplinary teams. The teams then had to identify a problem, develop solutions and then sell it in a pitch all within the course of a weekend. The theme of the sprint was advanced healthcare at home.

The Innovation Sprint attracted dozens of participants from all over the United States, Canada and a number of other countries. Teams were formed at the event itself in order to encourage networking and fostering new collaborations.

“I feel very fortunate to have linked up with David as we worked spectacularly well together for people who had literally just met,” said Lavdas on his pairing with his teammate.

Left to right: David Soriano and Michael Lavdas

Lavdas and Soriano’s project focused on fitting lower-limb prostheses. Approximately 120,000 people in the United States alone require lower-limb amputation every year. Many of these patients will experience pressure sores due to poor fit of their prosthesis. These sores can be costly to treat and affect patient quality of life due to infection, extended hospital stays and mobility.

“A big hurdle to solving this issue is that the residual limb changes shape/size with recovery and use,” said Lavdas.

To tackle this problem, the duo proposed a device that provides actionable data for the patients and their physicians on fit quality. In a 24-hour window, they were able to develop a solution, proof-of-concept prototype and consult with industry to come up with a feasible pricing model and regulatory strategy.

Lavdas and Soriano then developed a winning pitch that impressed a distinguished panel of judges that included the Chair of Engineering at Mayo Clinic as well as Minnesota-based medical technology leaders that netted them the second-place $1500 USD prize.

“David and I were honoured to be acknowledged in front of some incredible peers and role models in the med-tech space. We are proud of the accomplishments made over just a 24-hour sprint and we felt that we really left it all on the (virtual) floor when it came time to pitch. I don’t think either of us would have done anything differently.”

Lavdas believes his time as a Medical Innovation Fellow contributed to his ability to execute this Innovation Sprint successfully.

“As Medical Innovation Fellows we receive training and mentorship from a fantastic array of innovators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders on skills directly applicable to events like the Innovation Sprint. Then we spend the year engaging Ontario’s clinicians to discover genuine challenges and applying these lessons as an interdisciplinary team. We learn to lift together as a team, and I even consulted my MIF teammate Dr. Gordon Ngo for some input during the Innovation Sprint.”

ecommWestern Medical Innovation Fellow teams up with Mayo Clinic Medical Student to win Innovation Sprint prize