Policy Program


For more than 20 years, Stanford Biodesign has been bringing the world’s most promising minds together to investigate, inspire, and innovate a healthier world for all. Our mission is to train aspiring innovators in a proven, repeatable process for identifying and screening important unmet health-related needs, inventing new solutions to address them, and developing implementation plans to advance those technologies into patient care.

Now, Stanford Biodesign has taken the next step in our mission to improve lives and advance health equity and outcomes by establishing the first and only health policy program specifically centered on the dynamic area of health technology innovation.

The need for this undertaking is clear: After investing years of effort and millions of dollars to develop a new technology, such as a life-saving medical device, biotherapeutic, or novel digital health platform, innovators must navigate an unpredictable landscape of complex, time consuming, and expensive requirements in order to advance their solutions into patient care. More importantly, the inefficiencies inherent in the current system result in delays that keep promising technologies from the people who so desperately need them.


Stanford Biodesign Policy Program

Our Vision

Our vision is to produce data-driven research to help current and future policymakers better understand how health policies impact innovation. We also aspire to create new policies that accelerate the adoption of new technologies that increase health equity, enhance the patient and clinician experience, lower costs, and improve health outcomes.

In parallel, we will develop leaders steeped in intellectual property, regulatory, health economic value, healthcare payment, health equity, and federal policy and politics. We see a future where governing bodies collaborate with innovators to improve healthcare while securing a vibrant innovation ecosystem.

Our Three-Pillar Approach


Policy Fellows with Mike Mussallem

The Stanford Biodesign Policy Program publishes research that is nonpartisan, independent, and grounded in academic rigor. Advisors from across the innovation ecosystem help us select and prioritizes research projects from among the most pressing policy matters at the intersection of healthcare and technology innovation, with the goal of delivering timely data to inform the current legislative and rule-making agenda.

Project examples include economic modeling to quantify the effect of local, state, and federal policies on innovation and patient care, as well as identification of opportunities for new policies that could enhance how health technology innovation impacts the quadruple aim. Specific topics under investigation currently include Medicare coverage for emerging technologies, health data interoperability, artificial intelligence in healthcare, and biotechnology innovation.



Stanford Biodesign’s Policy Program is dedicated to applied policy education. Our offerings focus on real-world healthcare challenges, how existing and emerging health technologies can be leveraged to address them, and how relevant policy decisions will slow or accelerate the impact of those solutions.

Our initial educational offering is the Policy Fellowship, which began in 2023 as the first and only applied health policy fellowship opportunity in the United States that is focused on health technology innovation.

The fellowship is a bicoastal experience intended to equip future policymakers to contribute to balanced, data-driven decisions that help realize the full potential of technology innovation in the health sector. In this context, health technologies include life sciences, biotech, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health.


Biodesign Healthcare Policy Innovation Convening in Washington, DC, May 8, 2024

Stanford Biodesign’s Policy Program leaders, advisors, and fellows take the national policy stage and convene events that bring influential thought leaders together. We also share policy insights through publications, commentary, editorials, presentations, and policymaker engagement. Read more about these activities here.

The goal of our engagement efforts is to connect with policymakers directly, by bringing forward some of the toughest policy issues facing all healthcare stakeholders, including communities that have had little to no access to innovative solutions. We examine how innovators can better incorporate the quadruple aim – reducing costs and improving population health, patient experience, and healthcare team well-being – while increasing access and health equity.



Why Stanford Biodesign?

Our Policy Program taps into the knowledge and expertise of world-class faculty and researchers across Stanford University, including:

Stanford Department of Health Policy

Stanford School of Medicine

Stanford Law School

Stanford School of Engineering

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Clinical Excellence Research Center

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Innovative Medicines Accelerator

Institute for Economic Policy Research

Get Involved

To learn more about how you can contribute to our vision, contact Stanford Biodesign’s executive director, Gordon Saul.