Engineers have to realize that the current decision makers (senior surgeons) on the clinical side of R&D were trained to do things a certain way, that they do very well and have been shown to have very good outcomes. Senior surgeons often want to know that new technologies can operate in the same workflow they are comfortable with and that there is always a failure mode that allows them to use their existing well-honed skill-set to fix any problems. Residents and junior surgeons will often be more comfortable with newer technologies, but they often won’t adopt them without support from the senior partners in a group or senior faculty in an academic medical practice. It follows that engineers will have to design and convince two sets of end users: the senior and junior surgeons, both groups of whom are concerned with how new technologies will fail them, but with two different mindsets.
In the other direction, surgeons should realize that when they go looking for an academic engineer to solve a problem, that engineers don’t think in terms of differentials and that they are not going to automatically accept that the surgeons’ way of doing things is optimal. Often, the best way to pose a problem to an engineer is to follow this rough guide:
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