Beyond the Status Quo

Innovating New Solutions
An unconventional, but exciting, path led Patrick Kelly, MD, towards innovation. Through his out-of-the-box thinking, he has helped Sanford Health develop a robust commercialization program, bring progressive approaches to vascular care and invent multiple new medical devices. These include the Medtronic Valiant TAAA Stent Graft System, a Unitary Graft System, and Intra-arterial Pulmonary Emboli Catheter, to name a few.

A Problem Solver
The youngest of five, Dr. Kelly learned at an early age to be resourceful. A passion for math, facts and solving problems carried him through high school, college and into his career. He worked as a structural engineer, but after a few years realized it wasn’t the career for him, so he enrolled in medical school at the University of South Dakota.

Despite a complete shift in profession, his talent for solving problems never left him. When he felt like he was hitting walls during medical practice, he started searching for new ways to face the problem. While the open surgeries he performed went successfully, patients did not recover as well as he would have liked. Complications were a constant risk hindering recovery, and he decided to create a better solution.

For Dr. Kelly the goal was not solely to invent, but to help and improve the lives of his patients. The current technology was not offering him what he required, and an unwavering determination to do more set in. He became driven, and he did not stop or look back until his patients could receive the care they needed. When all was said and done, he had developed his first of many innovations, the Medtronic Valiant TAAA Stent Graft System, a less invasive medical device for treating thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.

One Step at a Time
The process took years, but Dr. Kelly and his team tackled the problem as he would anything else. He stripped it down to its most basic elements, identifying individual steps and finding solutions for each.

Now, as executive director of commercialization, Dr. Kelly is leading the charge. With him at the helm, the team is able to select an idea they want to protect, file intellectual property, develop a prototype and go through the regulatory path. The plethora of first-in-man data does more than just prove the device or therapeutic has a reasonable safety profile in light of the risk/benefit ratio of the disease process. It also expedites the process, helping get these needed innovations to patients faster.

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