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Innovation interest within dermatology: a needs assessment for novel thought processes

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Medical innovation is crucial to advancing our field, and physicians have the potential to play a leading role due to their daily patient care experiences. The objective of this study was to evaluate the interest in, and barriers to participating in innovation. Two surveys were conducted; the first cross-sectional survey was conducted among attendees of the Advancing Innovation in Dermatology Forum in Feburary 2019. The second survey was conducted among trainees (resident/fellows) and faculty dermatologists at Brown, Emory, Iowa, Stanford, and Vanderbilt Universities between June and November 2019. Demographic data were collected, as well as factors involved with identifying problems, developing solutions, training in innovation, and perceived barriers to innovation. In the first survey, the greatest perceived benefits include bringing joy to one's work and increasing professional fulfillment with work. Innovation was also perceived to decrease burnout. In the second survey of academic centers, faculty more commonly expressed interest in identifying problems (p  = 0.04), and was also more confident in their ability to generate solutions to these problems as compared to trainees (p < 0.01). Major barriers to participating in innovation processes included lack of time and lack of training or education in innovation. Both trainees and faculty groups noted a lack of knowledge in creating prototypes, understanding regulatory approval for medical products, and inexperience with pitching to investors or obtaining funding. These cross-sectional needs assessment surveys found a strong interest in innovation coupled with a lack of education in innovation processes. These findings suggest an urgent need and opportunity for providing formal training to empower dermatologists with the tools to lead innovation within our field.

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Correspondence to Kachiu C. Lee.

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Lee, K.C., Lee, I., Okhovat, JP. et al. Innovation interest within dermatology: a needs assessment for novel thought processes. Arch Dermatol Res 313, 885–888 (2021).

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