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Barriers Are But Stepping-Stones on The Path to Groundbreaking Achievements

4 min readMichael Hopkins, BSN, RN II

As far back as I can remember, even before I knew what it meant to be an inventor, I’ve been searching for a better way to do things. As a child, my imagination would run wild. I used to tinker with things, take them apart, see how they worked, and then put them back together.

As a critical care nurse in emergency medicine and trauma for the past 27 years, I’ve witnessed various/multiple forms of waste and inefficiencies. These inefficiencies in the healthcare system ultimately find their way to the bedside, where both patients and clinicians are directly impacted. Working in a high stress environment where seconds count, clinicians need to be equipped with the best tools. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, often leading to “MacGyvering” existing medical devices/systems to fit their needs, leading to critical errors, and causing patients’ harm.

After witnessing multiple errors, it led me to take-action. Combining my clinical experience coupled with an engineering mind, I started on a mission to equip my fellow clinicians with solutions aimed to mitigate risk to patients, improve outcomes, and save our healthcare system millions of dollars. In 2017, I formed True Concepts Medical Technologies (TCMT) - a medical device innovation engine that delivers novel and manufacturable solutions based in clinical experience.

When 3% is No Longer “Acceptable”

For years we have operated under the standard of less than 3% False Positive Rate is “acceptable”, but what if we were to tell you that the “3%” is actually 40% of all positive blood cultures, affecting 1.2 million patients, costing the US healthcare system $8.9B annually. All a result of contamination occurring during the collection of blood cultures from subsurface bacteria residing in the hair follicles and sweat glands. Research has shown diverting the initial 2-3 ml of blood containing skin flora and other contaminants introduced during venipuncture when drawing cultures has the potential to yield a 92% reduction in contamination. This simple step significantly enhances the quality and reliability of blood culture results.

For more than a hundred years the practice of collecting blood cultures has mostly remained the same. There have been multiple interventions to fix the problem, however, the problem remains. Innovation in this space was well overdue and this is why D’VIA was developed.

D’VIA™, the first and internationally patented 4-in-1 Dual Chamber Blood Collection System, prevents expensive false-positives, false-negatives, and process contamination by isolating pure, uncontaminated blood for faster more accurate sepsis testing and diagnosis helping hospital EDs/ICUs protect revenue integrity, lower costs, and improve patient outcomes. In May of 2023, a pilot study was performed by NAMSA where D’VIA demonstrated 100% contamination reduction.

Lessons Born in Roots

Not really advice, but more of the lessons I learned from my parents growing up. The work ethic instilled by my father and a life lesson learned as a child while pulling weeds in my mother’s flower garden where she taught me, “if you don’t get down to the root, the weeds will always come back.” This has become my design methodology, keep digging until you get to the root of the problem and THEN design a solution around it!

Perseverance Pays Off!

The advice I have to offer could take up this whole blog post! Here are the nuggets I’ve learned along the way…in no particular order:

  • Take every meeting, because it is what you take from that meeting that is most important.
  • Network, Network, Network and then Network some more!
  • Fall in love with the problem and truly understand your “Why”
  • Ask for help early on, it’s a very long trip.
  • As an innovator/entrepreneur you will be required to wear all kinds of hats, some will fit better than others, that’s okay, eventually you will find which hats fit you well and the ones that don’t, then surround yourself with others to wear those hats.

Most Importantly, don’t give up! After many years of hearing the word “No,” perseverance paid off, leading to 26 patents, three innovation awards, and testimony as an expert witness before Congress.

A graphic image of a black silhouette of a person walking on a series of white dots set on top of a bright yellow background.

An Opportunity to Impact Millions of Lives

Throughout our nursing career we will impact thousands of lives. As a Nurse Innovator, we have the opportunity to impact millions of lives.

We are at an inflection point in Nursing Innovation where there is a groundswell of nurse innovators serving as trailblazers for coming generations. The journey of this nurse innovator underlines a crucial message; barriers are but stepping-stones on the path to groundbreaking achievements. Let their story guide, inspire, and affirm your innovative spirit as we collectively strive towards a future of enhanced health creation and care.


YouTube: D’VIA Animation
YouTube: Upskilling the Medical Workforce: Opportunities in Health Innovation:


Images sourced from Adobe Creative Cloud

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