Dr. Mark Elzik is a leading hand and wrist orthopedic surgeon at St. Joseph’s Mission Hospital. Ever since his days of training at the world-renowned Philadelphia Hand Center and UCLA, he was troubled by the lack of product options to help his patients elevate their hand and wrist after injury or surgery. Elevation is a critical element to reduce swelling, relieve pain and speed healing. Lack of compliance led to too many unreimbursed patient follow up calls and visits. Over three million hand and wrist injuries and surgeries occur every year, so the market opportunity is significant. Our research also indicated that a busy clinic can lose up to $100,000 in misdirected physician and nurse time dedicated to handling post-surgical pain calls, so the financial pain is real.
Dr. Elzik approached Innovation Lab with this problem and the genesis of a potential solution and we worked together to create a product that we call the WingSling. We started from a simple concept rendering and took it through several rounds of prototyping, feedback gathering and iteration. WingSling easily and securely elevates the hand above the heart with an ergonomically sound design and custom fit that can be worn comfortably for long periods of time. The design incorporates an innovative pulley system to raise and lower the arm while the forearm sleeve supports the wrist with minimal pressure points. The proprietary elbow pocket creates the desired angle and tucks the arm in close to the body for safe keeping. The padded cross body support minimizes neck strain and allows WingSling to perform all functions of the traditional sling. We have a worldwide PCT patent application on file (PCT/US2016/046617) covering key elements of the product and have been awarded a US trademark for the WingSling name (87/078870).
Dr. Elzik spent many years in extensive training at world class institutions. He and his colleagues were consistently fielding unreimbursed phone calls from patients that didn’t elevate their hand or wrist after surgery. When he looked for a product to recommend to his patients to help the elevate at home, he was astounded to find that nothing existed on the market. He astutely realized that the time spent fielding these preventable pain calls pulled him away from patients in need of procedures, which translates to lost revenue for his clinic. Dr. Elzik was convinced there had to be a better way and approached the Innovation Lab to partner with him on this journey.
Over three million hand and wrist injuries and surgeries occur every year, so the market opportunity is significant. We are in the final stages of negotiating a license agreement with a manufacturer / distributor that sells into 50 countries and expect to see WingSling on shelves of major pharmacy outlets and other US retailers by Q2 2017. In addition to direct to consumer retail distribution, we are also pursuing direct to provider channels through alternative channels. Projected Net Proceeds from this product are $2-4M (10-year) and $5-10M (lifetime).
About the Innovator
Dr. Mark Elzik is an accomplished orthopaedic surgeon sub-specializing in the field of hand, wrist, elbow, and microvascular surgery. He attended Duke University and medical school at the UNC Chapel Hill, graduating with Distinction at both institutions. He was inducted into the coveted Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, an honor held by the top 1% of medical students. Dr. Elzik completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA and pursued sub-specialty fellowship at the prestigious Philadelphia Hand Center under the direction of world renown hand surgeon Dr. A. Lee Osterman. Dr. Elzik has published multiple medical articles and given numerous lectures at national meetings. He serves patients throughout south Orange County. In his free time, Dr. Elzik enjoys spending time in front of the barbecue, water sports, and watching a good college basketball game.