Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
The goal of MEDIKit is to democratize medical technology design and invention by empowering medical professionals in developing countries to develop their own medical device solutions. We aim to do this through the use of invention kits that allow nurses and physicians to seamlessly move from an idea to a prototype of a technology solution. We understand that the most innovative and game changing solutions come when ideas are shared between people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. To this end, the MEDIKits use a common language of design that enables users to share ideas and prototypes by simply describing the colors and shapes used to build.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
In July of 2009, we held a pilot program of MEDIKit in Nicaragua to identify lead user activity and analyze the appropriate environment and toolset to enable innovative behavior in clinical settings worldwide. The pilot program consisted of the following: a) clinical visits to understand how doctors and nurses are improvising to provide adequate patient care; b) specific technology demonstrations; and c) three prototyping workshops using the MEDIKit modules. To date, our pilot program has reached 82 nurses, doctors, engineers, and medical students in Managua, Estelí, Ocotal, and Masaya. The majority of the MEDIKit participants are connected via a member based website, H-Lab Managua (http://hlabmanagua.ning.com), which we use as a collaboration platform. In January and February 2011, we launched the MEDIKit course in Nicaragua, in collaboration with CIES-UNAN, the National School of Public Health in Nicaragua, and CARE. The course was taught to 25 participants in two locations.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
To disseminate medical device inventions from Central America to nurses in Africa – and witness ideation sessions between doctors in South East Asia and in South America. Medical professionals around the world are experiencing the same healthcare challenges with their technology. In 5 years we aim to make MEDIKits the common platform used globally to create and share medical technology inventions. Our vision is to change the mechanism of need-finding from a focus group, disease pull approach to one that creates distributed innovation clusters to take advantage of how people at the front lines of healthcare solve everyday challenges. We will work with medical schools and ministries of health to integrate MEDIKits into common continuing medical education curriculum for doctors and nurses.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
One drawback that we have seen to further product development is the lack of real time communication with MEDIKit users to receive feedback on the kit’s usage and performance as well as outcomes from use. In our current MEDIKit trial in Nicaragua, students have access to a virtual communication center that is three blocks from the hospital and in Ocotal there is a wireless router to increase internet access. Despite this accessible internet connection, MEDIKit participants prefer communicating via phone calls and text messages. To overcome this challenge, we are exploring a communications add-on to the kit which will include a low-cost digital camera and a mobile app. We are also exploring the use of Instructables website as a platform for more advanced MEDIKit users and medical missions.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Distribution of 100 MEDIKits in Central America and documentation of field innovations via localized Instructables website
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Establishment of 1 local medical hackerspace in Nicaragua