How New Training Partnership is Advancing Medical Device Knowledge & Professional Development

June 16, 2021

podcast_peter sebelius

Hungry for medical device industry knowledge? Greenlight Guru has you covered — now, medical device professionals can enjoy additional, sought-after training courses in the already popular educational platform, Greenlight Guru Academy, through Greenlight Guru's new partnership with Medical Device HQ.

In this episode of the Global Medical Device Podcast, Jon Speer talks to Peter Sebelius, the founder and CEO of Medical Device HQ.

Together, Peter and Jon discuss the importance of online learning and providing access to relevant, role-based training for medical device professionals. Listen now to understand the true value-add of this partnership and the further learning opportunities it brings the medical device industry.



Like this episode? Subscribe today on iTunes or Spotify.


Some highlights of this episode include:

  • Peter finds the process of developing or creating something new is almost as exciting as doing the actual technical work.

  • Also, Peter believes that blended courses are helpful because people get to learn at their own pace and validate their understanding of the content through formative assessments and evaluations.

  • Why are we doing these things? The FDA requires regulations and standards to be met for good reasons. It’s motivation to be meaningful. 

  • Peter started his career in the defense industry, which is good at structured product development. However, he transitioned to the medical device industry to go from taking lives to giving life.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has put more emphasis on online learning, which is useful and remains a trend.



Peter Sebelius on LinkedIn

Medical Device HQ

Medical Device HQ on YouTube

FDA - Medical Devices

Greenlight Guru Academy

MedTech True Quality Stories Podcast

Greenlight Guru YouTube Channel

Greenlight Guru


Memorable quotes from Peter Sebelius:

“The process of developing something or creating something new is almost as exciting as doing the actual technical work.”

“Being able to work in an industry where both those two things are important is such a privilege for me.”

“Unfortunately, quite a lot of people that are instructors in this industry will forget all the good things. We’re doing the things that the requirements tell us to do.”



Announcer: Welcome to the Global Medical Device Podcast, where today's brightest minds in the medical device industry go to get their most useful and actionable insider knowledge direct from some of the world's leading medical device experts and companies.

Jon Speer: I'm pretty excited about sharing this news with you all. It's something that's been in the works for a bit now at Greenlight. And of course, working out the details of a strategic partnership is very important to get everything right for both sides. But this one's a good one and it's a great one for the medical device industry. So Greenlight Guru has the Greenlight Guru Academy, check it out, where we're offering courses on a variety of topics that are important and applicable to medical device professionals. Well, now we are teaming up with Medical Device HQ and Peter Sebelius and his team. We're going to start offering the Medical Device HQ courses and the Greenlight Academy as well. So Peter and I chat a little bit about online learning and just learning in general with respect to topics that are relevant to med device professionals and talk a little bit about that partnership. So check it out, enjoy this episode where I have a chance to chat with Peter. I'm going to give you one couple of caveats. There was a little glitchy during the recording of that due to probably some minor internet issues, but you'll get through it. It's all good. So enjoy it and check it out, Hello and welcome to the Global Medical Device podcast. This is your host and founder at Greenlight Guru, Jon Speer, and joining me today is Peter Sebelius. Peter is the founder and what is your title? CEO, president owner of Medical Device HQ?

Peter Sebelius: Yes to.

Jon Speer: All of the above.

Peter Sebelius: Yeah.

Jon Speer: So Peter, you and I had met probably five or six years ago, something like that. And we've stayed in contact along the years and because you're a great writer and I'm a fan of your work. And a couple of years ago, I found out Peter is doing online courses to help teach people what I think are exciting topics, but tell the folks a little bit about Medical Device HQ at some of the coursework that you have.

Peter Sebelius: Yes. So I started out many years ago, working a little bit as a consultant and do training as well. And I found that I really enjoyed it because I think the process of developing something or creating something new is almost as exciting as doing the actual technical work, and being able to work in an industry where both those two things are important is such a privilege, I think. So over the years, I guess, because I really enjoyed it, the courses were really appreciated, that it's become more and more nowadays I train more than a thousand people per year or significantly more than that, I would say, in areas relating to design control, risk management and project management and everything that is relating to bringing a medical device to market with all the things you need to take into account to do that. And I really love it to be honest.

Jon Speer: Yeah, I know you do. And folks, you can find out more about Medical Device HQ. It's pretty simple, And Peter and his team have a YouTube channel as well, but you can see the courses that they offer. There's also different blog articles and content. I was a customer of yours and a student in one of the courses not that long ago. I went through your blended course. You know this, of course. What I liked about it was there were two elements to it. It was the LMS, or learning management system, kind of go at my own pace online. And then, there was the live interaction sessions. There were a couple of those for the risk management course. And it was great to have that live interaction to sort of reinforce the material. I know you do quite a few courses online and some of the blended. What are you finding with that sort of, I don't want to say new approach necessarily, but it is somewhat unique I think to our industry, specifically. People doing blended courses, you're a pioneer there. Why have you found that to be helpful?

Peter Sebelius: When you do an online course first, like we've done in the blended course, people get the chance to learn at their own pace. And that online course is sprinkled with quiz questions, which is really useful because sometimes actually people on the course, they think, well, I got that, but when you give them a question, they realize that no, they did not understand it. So those quiz questions is an excellent way of verifying that you actually understood it right. That's what many, many of the course participants are saying." I really enjoyed it because I got the confirmation that I'm understanding this." And that's in a way that formative evaluation that we talk about in usability engineering, but we do it on the learning. And that's super useful to me that they can take it at their own pace. And if you're a beginner, you spend more time on the online course. If you're really experienced, you spend less time on it. And then, if it's a blended course, and you feel like you want to take one more step, we meet in the live virtual class where we discuss the things people have learned. And many interesting things with that. And you get to work hands- on with the theory that has been presented earlier, but also that some companies, when having an in- house course, they have people from US and from Europe and from Asia and Europe, so I've done that. A few weeks ago, I had people from Asia before noon and people from US in the afternoon. So I managed to split it like that. And you can have people join from all over the world, which I think is super exciting. And instead of having to travel around the world, we have now people attending our virtual classes from far away, but always combining online course. That's important.

Jon Speer: Yeah. Years and years ago, a little bit earlier in my career, I was hungry for knowledge on topics, and I gravitated towards things like design control and risk management, quality systems and project management and things like that. But at least back at that time, the best option that I came across was finding out where this course was, oh, this one's in Washington DC or this one's taking place and Las Vegas, Nevada, or whatever the case may be. And having to get budget to do that and permission to do that. And then, it's an interruption to family and work life because you've got to get on an airplane and you got to go there. And then you go there and to get a three inch binder with slides and the nice little certificate, and you come back, you put that binder on your shelf and maybe you put the certificate in your training file, but it was so bad. It was so bad. And when I went through the blended risk management course from Medical Device HQ, it was like, I don't know what I thought it was going to be, but it was the opposite of that previous experience because I felt like I was learning something on the topic that I actually felt like I knew a fair amount about already, but I learned a lot of things going through this. So it was a completely different experience.

Peter Sebelius: It is. And it's important to say that, unfortunately, quite a lot of people that are instructors and this industry forget all the good things we're doing, the things that the requirements tell us to do. So way too often, it's presented as if you have to do it because the FDA requires it. You have to do it because that's in the standard. And I take pride in always trying to find why are we doing these things? And because 90, 95% of these things makes perfect sense if you're just getting to manage to put it into a context. And I think this is super important to anyone in quality management or project management that is trying to tell people to do things in a certain way to always remember we need to tell people why they're doing these things because if you don't, people will lose faith in it or motivation, and it will be done in a really poor way. So that motivation, that's one of the three pillars that we always emphasize, is to motivate people to practice what they preach or what's super critical.

Jon Speer: Yeah. I totally agree with that because I think a lot of people go through this. And I like what you're saying, find the motivation and be excited about it. And the answer as to the why has to be, I think, for it to be meaningful more than just, oh, well this is required because of the regulation. No, that's not what anybody wants to hear. Nobody wants the why to be because I said so, I don't know if that happens in Sweden, but I know a lot of times parenting in the United States, your child may ask you for something and you're like," No". And they'll say," Well, why, why not?" And the answer is," Because I said so," and that's where it goes, but there needs to be something more to that when it comes to learning on some of these sites, I think.

Peter Sebelius: You simply need to have lots of stories up your sleeves. This is important, both to children, and I guess I equated my course participants to children now. That was not intentional. But what I was going to say, I have one, I think of many good examples that we use. And one that comes up sometimes is when you tell people," Okay, you need to validate your software." And there's always someone saying," Well, do I need to validate Excel?" And they're just like,"Aw, it seems like so much work."

Jon Speer: Right.

Peter Sebelius: In UK, they managed to lose, I think it was 19, 000 people that were potentially contaminated with COVID- 19 because they were using the old XLS format in Excel. And they were feeding that spreadsheet, and it just got an overflow when it reached 65,000. And then, I was saying, well, they should have validated it. And then they would have not lost 19, 000 people that might be carrying the virus. So there's a lot of things to spice up these things to give a picture of what it could be like if you don't do it right.

Jon Speer: Yes. You have recent relevant examples, but you've been in the industry for quite some time. What all have you done in the medical device space?

Peter Sebelius: Yeah, actually I started in the defense industry.

Jon Speer: Okay.

Peter Sebelius: I was making bombs.

Jon Speer: Oh wow.

Peter Sebelius: Not literally. Well, almost. But the nice thing with that, apart from the fact that I went from taking lives to giving life, is that the defense industry is really good at structured product development. The military standards that you have from Department of Defense, and US are excellence, that I would say lots of the medical device industry has been inspired by the engineering thinking, coming from those areas. But I started with a mechanical chest compression device, which is used on cardiac arrest patients, is now spread all over the world. And I was the project manager initially for that. And this is one of those wonderful stories that makes it easier to get out of the bed in the morning because news came to the office. It's actually weird not having him here today. And he had been playing badminton. Well, you're laughing. He had acardiac arrest.

Jon Speer: Oh no.

Peter Sebelius: And luckily his friends were doing CPR, but they couldn't resuscitate him on site. And they brought him to the hospital with ongoing compressions, into the PCI lab, managed to treat his coronary vessels that were clotted and managed to get his heart restarted. And he saw that as his second birth. He used to come by is that," Today's my sixth birthday."

Jon Speer: Yeah. Wow.

Peter Sebelius: It's such an inspiring thing. That makes you walk out of bed with a smile in your face every morning. It's much easier knowing that work with something that can make such a difference. We're so blessed. Sometimes I ask, I don't know why we get paid to do this.

Jon Speer: Well, I'm okay with getting paid and we are blessed.

Peter Sebelius: It's okay.

Jon Speer: Yeah, it's okay. I know you love it, and I do as well. And I'm so glad for the work that you're doing with Medical Device HQ because having been that medical device professional for all these years, these things evolve, they change, the interpretation sometimes changes, the best practices are sometimes they can be a moving target on these things. And I just appreciate that it's fresh material. It's done in a way that's, I think, super effective as far as retention is concerned. And it's just fun. You make it fun. Some people may be rolling their eyes like," Oh, how could talking about risk management, how can they be fun?" Well, you enjoy it. You have a passion for it. So you do make it fun. The last thing I wanted to talk to you a little bit about is that Greenlight Guru and Medical Device HQ, we formed a strategic alliance or partnership, or however you want to describe that. And you know this, and I think listeners hopefully know about this too, but Greenlight Guru recently rolled out this thing called the Greenlight Guru Academy. And we have some courses in the academy, like the latest course that we rolled out was on things to do with how to better prepare for audits. But it's clear to me that Medical Device HQ courses, the quality of those and how well they are done and how effective they are. And we're going to start offering those through the Greenlight Guru Academy. So talk for a moment. What is your thoughts about the going forward relationship between Greenlight and Medical Device HQ, and then offering your courses on the Greenlight Guru Academy? Any thoughts about that?

Peter Sebelius: Yeah. Thanks for the questions. I'm quite excited about it. Both you and I have that empowering people to do good medical devices and being able to distribute it, to bring these courses out through your channels is obviously a way to make more people find them and take the courses, which is really, really good. I want to contribute to this industry as much as I can and able to do that together is great. Like you've been doing, but through other channels for years as well, Jon, I think you deserve a big compliment on all the great-

Jon Speer: Oh, thank you.

Peter Sebelius: -throughout the years for Greenlight, both on your site and other places as well. So it's a match made in heaven, I would say. I'm expecting a lot from it.

Jon Speer: Yeah. I'm looking forward to it as well because offering your course, and then folks it's the same materials as what you would get through Medical Device HQ. So if you choose to go the Medical Device HQ way, that's cool, but you can also go the Greenlight way,, where you'll see those courses, including a few other courses as well. And we've got a couple of free options, free courses, many courses. Sometimes you get what you pay for, so the paid versions are going to be a higher quality, more in depth on various topics, so do check that out. Peter, any final thoughts on online education in our industry and/ or the Greenlight Guru partnership with Medical Device HQ before we wrap things up today?

Peter Sebelius: Yes. Well, I think the future is quite bright when it comes to online learning. That's obviously been a big trend for quite some time, but I must say that the pandemic has definitely put emphasis on it and people have started to see that you can learn as much, sometimes more, in a very cost effective way with online training, as well as it's environmentally friendly because, like you said, sometimes you have to fly. I've traveled to Washington to take courses in the US that I couldn't find here, which is...

Jon Speer: It's an interruption. You go there for a couple of days, but it got a different things in your personal and even in your professional life, because you just got to get on a plane and go there for a few days, which is inconvenience.

Peter Sebelius: Yeah. And it's not reducing the carbon dioxide emissions, is it?

Jon Speer: No, it's not.

Peter Sebelius: So being able to do it, able to do it from home or from my work place at any time of the day is super useful.

Jon Speer: Super, yeah.

Peter Sebelius: I think the future's bright. And we're going to be rolling out. Now we have a few courses already. It's risk management, according to ISO 49: 2019. Design control for medical devices, project management or product development of medical devices. It's quite unique. If you're take just a generic project manager, put in the medical device industry, there's going to be some confusion about all these terms and things that are typical for medical devices. And a lot more courses coming up in this year, whenever you like. You can pause and resume whenever you like, obviously. But all in all people spent roughly two days on one of those courses.

Jon Speer: Yeah. Like I said, it's going to be commensurate a little bit with expertise and knowledge on a particular topic, but that's a lot of stuff. You guys, your team is working on additional content too. And as that additional content comes available, we're going to evaluate it with Peter. And if it's appropriate and applicable, which I suspect it will be, it'll be rolled out onto the Greenlight Guru Academy as well. So keep an eye on that. We'll be announcing those things as they come available. So Peter, thank you for taking some time to chat with me about Medical Device HQ in partnership with Greenlight and rolling out some of your courses into the new Greenlight Guru Academy. Again, Peter Sebelius, you can find them If you want to know more about the courses that we're offering at Greenlight Guru Academy. Gosh, that seems like a mouthful sometimes. But anyway, it's Go check that out. And we'd love to have you taken some of these courses and increasing your knowledge on particular topics of interest. So thank you all so much for listening and for taking a few moments out of your busy day to learn more about the partnership. As always, this is your host and founder at Greenlight Guru, Jon Speer, and you have been listening to the Global Medical Device Podcast.



The Global Medical Device Podcast powered by Greenlight Guru is where today's brightest minds in the medical device industry go to get their most useful and actionable insider knowledge, direct from some of the world's leading medical device experts and companies.

Like this episode? Subscribe today on iTunes or Spotify.

Nick Tippmann is an experienced marketing professional lauded by colleagues, peers, and medical device professionals alike for his strategic contributions to Greenlight Guru from the time of the company’s inception. Previous to Greenlight Guru, he co-founded and led a media and event production company that was later...

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