Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
We hope to cut instances of death from apnea in premature infants by 40% in wards that have adopted our system, improve the diagnostic capacity of doctors in rural clinics, and increase ward productivity by saving time in vital sign collection.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Most of our time to date has been spent in actual device production: as engineering students, we stared from scratch in October and at present we have a functional prototype. We've assessed the mechanical durability of our sensors and the limitations of battery life, network capacity, and product life, and we've conducted informal tests of both vibratory stimulation and respiratory data collection on healthy full-term infants - both to great success. On the business front, we've constructed a concrete plan for launch and expansion and we have addressed regulatory conditions for testing and sales of medical devices in the U.S. and abroad.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
Over the next year we hope to conduct field testing and obtain approval to begin a clinical trial. Should a conclusive, replicable study indicate that our device improves diagnosis and reduces infant deaths over the standard of care (visual monitoring & foot tapping), we will have a basis for mass production. Our goal within five years is to have 500 neonatal wards fully equipped with an army of our monitors throughout Africa and Latin America, with at least one government partner.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Our team consists entirely of engineers, and in order to effectively implement this health innovation, we're going to need to expand our skill sets to include some business acumen. While there's no substitute for learning-by-doing, several of our team members are spending their final year in school taking courses on engineering economics, marketing, and design. We also attended a social innovation start-up workshop as a team this January.
Working with unreliable nonprofit partners would be a significant barrier; we hope to distribute our device through proven channels. Far more nonprofits are focused on neonatal health than directly on technology transfer, and we believe these would be more receptive to working with us.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Complete modifications based on feedback from field testing in preparation for clinical trial.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Begin clinical trial at one project site, with early distribution to 3 others.