Colin Dobbyne, Product Development Consultant for Medical Technology has his say on empowering clinicians and improving patient care by embracing technology and innovation
“I’ve decided it’s time to break the mould”
I’m returning to my roots in engineering – for me, nothing can beat the excitement that comes from designing new products that make a real difference to patient care and outcomes, encouraging a change in the fixed mindset of healthcare delivery. I want to empower clinicians to advance beyond entrenched expectations of what they can achieve and instead use the valuable hard data generated in the operating theatre to develop new techniques and improve patient care. It’s time to learn from our mistakes – with millions of people worldwide dying each year from preventable medical error, I suggest only when that is acknowledged and addressed might we pause in satisfaction of our skills.” Colin Dobbyne, Big Blue Solutions Limited: Product Development Consultant for Medical Technology
After a career working with companies with a global reputation, and ten years at the head of his own business, Colin Dobbyne has decided to return to the role he enjoys most – product innovation. He believes in technology that empowers surgeons to make better decisions - by gathering instantly accessible data during procedures, clinical teams will not only be able to make better-informed decisions during surgery but will also be able to reflect on and change future procedures after the event. This represents a huge move away from the current norm, instead encouraging surgeons to learn from what happens and use it to move surgery forward.
Colin started out designing and building electronic products for technology and healthcare companies before founding OR Networks Ltd, where he developed a brand of surgical video system – ORTV. What made ORTV so radical was the way it encompassed live two-way links with image capture and recording systems for education and integrated operating theatres.
In 2011, OR Networks was acquired by KARL STORZ Endoscopy UK (Ltd). Colin joined as Technical and Commercial Director, but has now decided to return to the engineering and product development to which he feels closest, moving clients forward at a pace that cannot be done internally. Colin will be advising on how to bring disruptive products to market quicker: while there are no shortcuts, the process can be streamlined by managing bureaucracy and shattering the fixed mindset that can stifle innovation and the adoption of new technology.
Colin became convinced of the need to facilitate the accelerated adoption of new technology when he was part of the team from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust that received a prestigious British Medical Journal Award for work at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.
Overcoming massive technical challenges, Colin set up an innovative and unique audio-visual link over a meagre internet service that allowed surgeons at the Trust to support surgeons at KCMC, revolutionising the surgical care that KCMC could provide and directly benefitting the thousands of patients who have now received safer and quicker treatment.
It is this absolute commitment to patient care that represents Colin’s greatest strength. The excitement of hours spent developing, testing and refining new solutions is matched only by the fulfilment that comes with seeing them in use, supporting clinicians as they develop and improve care techniques. Colin takes this forward with him to the next stage of his career, where he will continue to push forward the boundaries of what can be achieved in operating theatres across the world.
“The project at KCMC shows what can be achieved when the rule book is thrown out of the window – with no received wisdom or standard processes holding you back, and an absolute enthusiasm to embrace innovation, new products and solutions flourish and advance what can be achieved. I want to bring this growth mindset to the first world – if we are eager to adapt new techniques and gather metrics to support or disprove surgical decisions, we can improve patient outcomes. Patients don’t need to die from preventable medical errors if we seize the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.” Colin Dobbyne