After 22 years as a surgeon at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Wayne Poll, M.D., turned in his surgical scrubs to become an inventor and entrepreneur.
The former urologist, who did mostly laparoscopic surgeries, wanted to tackle an equipment problem that he – and his fellow surgeons – repeatedly encountered with laparoscopes.
“Hospitals pay millions of dollars for high-definition video systems, but surgeons don’t get the clear image they need,” he explains. “Fat, blood and water particles settle on the lens. Surgeons have to pull the laparoscope out of the patient and manually clean the lens about ten times every hour.”
Poll knew there had to be a better way, and he set out to create it. He established Minimally Invasive Devices, Inc.
in 2007 with two employees. “For ten years, I tried going to companies with my ideas,” he recalls. He was constantly frustrated. Things started to happen when he won a business plan competition sponsored by Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
He subsequently received help from TechColumbus
, a technology business incubator serving a 15-county area in Central Ohio. Dr. Poll raised $200,000 in start-up capital and also received $2.4 million in angel funds, a portion of which came from funds supported by the Ohio Third Frontier program.
His invention – FloShield – received FDA approval, and about 600 of the devices were sold. The FloShield has air flowing around the end of the scope to blow away debris and provide a clear image of the surgical site. Surgeries can be performed more safely and in less time, he notes, which benefits patients, surgeons and hospitals.
Dr. Poll subsequently created FloShield PLUS. “It uses the same invisible air curtain to protect the lens from floating debris, but it also has a saline solution that flushes fat off the lens.”
Approximately 30 facilities are using FloShield PLUS, which is manufactured and assembled in Franklin, Ohio. The company has 14 employees.
Source: Wayne Poll
Writer: Lynne Meyer