Opportunity AreaHow might we improve demand and access to essential maternal health medicines & supplies in Uganda??
The proposed title of your ideaVein Locator
Please describe your idea.The vein locator is a portable non-invasive medical device designed to help clinicians easily locate veins in patients.
What problem does your idea solve in the market?In Uganda and in many other LMICs, more than 80% of the patients admitted into hospital wards need intravenous cannulation to deliver fluids and medications or for withdrawing blood. In the case of Pediatric patients, older adults, obese patients, patients with low blood pressure and/or dark skinned patients, this procedure is often very difficult and requires complex skill for clinicians to locate a vein beneath the patient's skin. Failed attempts may result into further complications. In order to ensure safe administration of intravenous fluids and drugs, electronic devices are necessary.
Briefly explain how you identified the need or opportunityWe identified a challenge of intravenous cannulation among hospitalized patients during our clinical site visit to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, and Holy Innocents Children Hospital in August 2015.
Who are the beneficiaries of your solution and how will they benefit?The end users of this innovation are the clinicians and our target customers are: health facilities first in Uganda. The beneficiaries of this innovation are patients with difficulty in vein location. For critically ill patients, every second counts and therefore we believe that the device will serve as a convenient non-invasive tool in identifying potential cannulation sites leading to: reduced tissue trauma, reduced economic costs, and higher patient satisfaction.
Why are you convinced your solution will solve the problem?The vein locator uses the principle of red light absorption by deoxy-hemoglobin content in the patient’s vein. Deoxy-hemoglobin in the vein absorbs red light and veins therefore show up clearly on the patient’s skin against the brighter red background of the surrounding tissues. In addition, red light is non-ionizing in nature, harmless to human skin and does not need extra equipment to process the image.
What other initiatives like yours exist out there? How will you differentiate your solution?To assist in finding a vein, clinicians have used a number of techniques. These include: use of a tourniquet, palpation, and asking the patient to make a fist among others. In developed countries, various devices such as: Veinlite, and Vein Finder (Flex) have been proposed for facilitating vein location. Unfortunately, such devices are generally expensive in implementation and not well suited for low resource settings. Our innovation therefore delivers a unique and innovative vein imaging technique that increases first needle success while costing a fraction of other similar products. We have already began a set of feasibility studies regarding the applicability of visible light, and we intend to develop the device using locally available components.
What have you done up-to date to test your idea with potential users? What learnings do you have to share?Our first generation prototype was built by assembling red LEDs on two separate breadboards with the intention of proving the possibility to visualize the veins. Over time, the device has been improved to a design that allows clinicians to cannulate with their hands free. Following a needs assessment visit to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital and Holy Innocents Children Hospital between June -July 2016, we developed the second generation prototype which incorporated end users feedback. In November 2016, designers at UIRI worked closely with our technical team to develop a product suitable for both usability and performance testing. Currently our team is working on the device charging system, a 3D-printed casing and in future, we intend to incorporate a tourniquet with this device to improve intravascular access.
How will you financially sustain your business?Our current Bill of Materials is about $20 and our device may retail at $40. To reduce production costs, we plan to have production at scale done by Uganda Industrial Research Institute. Our business sustainability plan involves free training services to health workers on how to effectively use and maintain the device and working with the MoH to gain exposure to market. We fully expect that the vein locator will be a profitable product once commercialized to scale. Our implantation partners include: CAMTech Uganda. Most of our project activities are based at the CAMTech co-creation lab at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Uganda Industrial Research Institute, a centre of excellence for the East African Community in industrial research. Core activities include value addition and capacity. We look forward to working with Design without Borders to achieve the goal of reduced cost and improved quality of health care.
Please share a link to a 3 minute online video that best describes your idea and teamhttps://youtu.be/zJKG9SdJ88U
Please tell us about each founder and their roles on the team. How do you know your founders and how long have you worked together?The main strength of our team is its diversity. The team is comprised of technical, business, and medical personnel. Eng. Emmanuel Kamuhire is a Data communications Engineer from MUST, Paul Gusimba is a Hardware Engineering student at MUST, and Solomon Oshabahebwa is a Biomedical engineering student at Makerere University. The three engineers are the creative brains behind the prototype design. We have invested time in researching about the best tools and low cost materials to use in building the final prototype. Melissa Amwine is a Business expert and she manages the team's finances. Julius Mubiru and Brian Ssenkumba are medical students from MUST interacting with nurses, doctors and baby caretakers. We have worked together on this innovation since August 2015.
Please tell us about other team members that are not cofounders.1. Dr. Data Santorino (Principal Investigator). He is the Country Manager for CAMTech Uganda, a Pediatrician and Lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. 2. Eng. Martin Mukama, a software developer and CAMTech Uganda co-creation lab Manager.
Which members of your team will attend the program full-time?1. Emmanuel Kamuhire 2. Solomon Oshabahebwa 3. Paul Gusimba.