Speaker Interview with Claus Schaffrath |The Medical Devices 3P Forum in Berlin

Last month, the 4th Annual Medical Devices 3P Forum kicked off in the beautiful city of Berlin and more than 100 attendees had the chance to meet their peers in a perfectly organized chaos full of discussions and workshops. One of our exceptional speakers was Claus Schaffrath, MD, Director Global Product Management Clinical Solutions at Philips. I had the opportunity to talk with Claus a few weeks back to discuss his experience on our event.

Tell me a little about yourself and your career.

Sure, Eftychia, I will do so with pleasure. I am a physician and an electrical engineer and have spent my entire professional life at the interface between medicine and technology. I my clinical days I worked at the University in Erlangen/Germany as resident at the Neurosurgical Department with its demanding high tech equipment. Later I crossed the floor to industry and have worked since in the field of Image Guided Therapy, both in a start-up company, which then grew to mid-size, and in a large multi-national.

Over the years, what is the most challenging and the most interesting part of your job?

The most probing question I found in the clinical world when you care about an individual patient is “What is right?” This holds also true in medical device industry, where you create a product, which is supposed to have its intended use to the benefit of a broader group of patients. It boils down to the same question “What is right?” – And I do not mean this in a text-book sense of an answer, when you can look up medical conditions and associated treatment recommendations.

To find out what is right, often is an evolutionary process when you dig deeper and discover the true needs of the people you want to take care of. To be able to serve those needs in a specific context with its specific limitations provides you with a sense of satisfaction, and instills your own gratitude to be able to make a difference which really matters.

My professional life, from the microscope guided approaches in Neurosurgery to image guided therapy in subsequent years was always about how you can make treatments for the patients less invasive, safer and more effective in general. It was over my last years in Interventional Oncology, when I came to realize that for the individual with cancer all those better therapy options are often helpful, but still rarely can provide definitive treatment as the disease often lingers on.

So “What is right” becomes a very personal choice, not only triggered by outcome statistics and what is technically feasible, but to what matters to a patient and his or her family in life.

In what way did this event help you and how it will help potential attendees/speakers?

All participants share the background of the medical device industry as playing field, but this is such a vast space that almost certainly you get fresh perspectives and different views on how others approached similar problems to those you encounter.

The open dialogue and feedback is a refreshing asset to stimulate new ideas for yourself.

You also realize in those engagements, be it as speaker or participant, that your own experience matters as well, and that you have something to contribute, which is of value for the audience.

Would you recommend our event to your peers? Why?

The Medical Devices – 3P Forum is a great platform to meet experienced marketers and engineers in the medical device industry and to share ideas and learn from each other. The beauty of the cases presented are, that they are from the real world –and that there is often no easy or right answer to them.

I can clearly recommend the Medical Devices – 3P Forum to marketers who want to get a fresh perspective and novel inroads to their own thinking, or get inspirations for novel approaches of their organizations. It is a great platform to learn and share for people who are challenging the status quo, be it for their company or their personal career development in the Medical Device industry.


Disclaimer: This interview reflects the experience and opinion of Dr. Schaffrath, not Philips Healthcare. Dr. Schaffrath reports employment with Philips Healthcare and is owner and consultant of MD squared – Medical Consultancy for Medical Devices (www.md-squared.com).