Bouvé and CAMD bring magic to medical device design

On March 21, Bouvé College and the HSE team combined efforts with the Center for Research Design to host a “magical” hackathon to re-design the central line kits found in every emergency room. The kits, which contain the sterile equipment needed to install central line procedures like spinal taps or to administer epidurals, are randomly organized and counterintuitive to use.

Stephen Wood demonstrates central line kit.

Guest professional magician, Jeannette Andrews, led participants through the design process for creating illusions for magical performance and explained how those principles could be applied to the design of medical instrument kits. Teleflex supplied central line kits for teams to work with. Bouvé School of Nursing professor, Stephen Wood, demonstrated the entire workflow – from opening the kit, to organizing the instruments, to placing a drape on the patient, to inserting the central line. He answered questions and provided feedback on participants’ ideas.

Magician Jeannette Andrews

After a day of learning and hacking, two teams pitched their ideas and prototypes to a rapt audience and to a panel of judges that included two industry representatives. The results were simply amazing. One of the industry member judges said of one team’s redesign, “I want to sell that tomorrow” and “this would differentiate us from our competitors immediately.”

The first team focused more heavily on the instruments contained in the kits and came up with enhancements that would allow users to more quickly and accurately determine if the central line was properly located in the patient’s body. They also devised a tool that would make the process of threading a wire through a catheter, much easier for experienced and newly trained clinicians alike.

The second team focused more heavily on the layout and organization of the kits themselves. Their design considered the precise workflow of the clinician as well as the patient’s experience. The result was a kit with contents organized to match the clinician’s workflow, but that also took up less workspace when opened, laid flatter when closed to take up less shelf space, used fewer materials, incorporated biodegradable materials, and disposed of liquid waste efficiently.

The innovations these teams came up with in about 4 hours each were nothing short of astonishing. Both teams are working with the HSE team to continue to develop their ideas to translate them to practice. One of the faculty members who participated received validation for some of his lab research and plans to continue this line of research with this use-inspired application in mind.

This is what Bouvé’s Design Challenges are all about. They are, of course, opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop ideas that might have a commercial application. But they are also for faculty researchers to de-risk the direction of their research by confirming that the results are likely to have a desired application outside the lab.

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