New Product Challenge Calls on Orthopedic Community for Ideas

Update: The submission deadline for this initiative is extended to May 10.

Due to COVID-19, the orthopedic industry has experienced a sudden cancellation of scheduled surgeries and physical therapy sessions. As a result, patients must endure pain and limited mobility until the pandemic subsides and treatments are rescheduled. To ease patient strains, orthopedic leaders have developed a challenge with the hopes of quickly commercializing new ideas.

The Call for Patient Aid

The challenge asks members of the global orthopedic community to submit product, software and service ideas that will meet the emerging needs of orthopedic patients in this new environment while providing them with pain- and function-alleviating support.

For Such a Time as This – OrthoChallenge is sponsored by:

  • Raymond Cloutier, Chief Executive Officer, NovApproach Spine
  • Joseph Zuckerman, M.D., Chair, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU Langone Health and Past President of AAOS
  • Dawn Lissy, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Empirical Technologies

The sponsors have assembled a team of experts to select and present to FDA 10 beneficial and practical OrthoChallenge submissions. The team will ask FDA and other government leaders to help “fast-track” these innovations.

An additional outcome of this challenge may be the introduction of significant improvements in orthopedic care of the magnitude seen in “step” changes in orthopedic technology, such as open reduction internal fixation, total joint replacement, biologics and so on, said Cloutier. Even if the innovations aren’t as significant as these, the hope is that many could be deeply beneficial well after this crisis is over.

What You Can Do

For Such a Time as This – OrthoChallenge will foster innovation and provide recognition and awareness with the hope that this accelerates the innovator’s idea to benefit patients more rapidly.

Submissions should explain the Problem, the Solution and the Reason that your idea meets at least one of the following criteria that will help orthopedic patients:

  • Address or assist with their musculoskeletal limitations while they wait for their procedure to be performed.
  • Reduce the chance that their musculoskeletal issues will put them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Minimize the risk that their orthopedic condition will affect morbidity or mortality if they contract COVID-19.

Organizers are calling for all submissions to be received digitally, starting on April 3, at, with a deadline of April 30, 2020. Winning proposals will be announced in May.

Submitters and/or their companies will retain ownership of inventions and development responsibility. All submissions will become “Public Domain” information. A provisional patent filed prior to making your submission may afford you some level of protection of your idea. The sponsors are creating a Frequently Asked Questions document to offer additional guidance.

“There are so many patients with orthopedic problems who will have their surgery delayed for an unknown amount of time and will continue to suffer from the pain and disability of their underlying condition. This is an opportunity for us to develop measures to mitigate the symptoms until we are able to freely provide the care that our patients need,” said Dr. Zuckerman.

According to Dr. Zuckerman, NYU Langone Health typically performs 2,000 orthopedic procedures per month. He estimates that over 90% of these procedures are elective. With thousands of hospitals around the globe, the number of suffering patients is “extraordinary and profound.”

“As the world faces this pandemic crisis, we are calling on our colleagues to innovate and transform the care we provide orthopedic patients,” Cloutier said. “We can create wholly new treatment modalities, products and services that will benefit orthopedic patients and surgeons and spark new growth opportunities for the orthopedic industry. Albert Einstein said, In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity. As you choose whether, or not, to expend the effort to make a submission, consider ‘For Such a Time as This’.”


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