Sarah Ingersoll, 2 June 2016
- A burn unit nurse manager creates a portable shower that directs water over specific areas of a patient’s body to ease discomfort. (Jason Sheaffer, Blocker Burn Unit, University of Texas Medical Branch).
- The medical director of a simulation lab uses ballistic gel in a novel way to create a low-cost, effective trainer for teaching epidural placement techniques. (John Yosaitis, MD, medical director of MedStar Health’s Simulation Training & Education Lab (SiTEL); Director, Integrated Learning Center, Georgetown University Medical School; and Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical School).
- A thoracic surgeon precisely replicates a patient’s tumor, using a 3-D printer, to prepare for surgery. (Blair Marshall, MD, division chief of Medicine and chief of Thoracic Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital).
These are healthcare makers – professionals applying problem-solving skills and inventiveness to create solutions that make care better, safer, or more efficient.
The Maker Movement
According to USA Today, there are approximately 135 million U.S. adults who are makers — artisans, craftsmen, small business entrepreneurs, and innovators who are fueling a “third-wave industrial revolution”. As of 2013, that’s 57 percent of the American adult population. Makers contribute $29 billion into the economy each year and these numbers are growing. That’s why in 2011 President Obama announced a National Week of Making.
Out of necessity or inventiveness, people have always made things. But as new tools have become available (e.g., 3-D printing) and old tools have become cheaper and more accessible (e.g., circuit boards), the maker movement has grown. Small scale inventors today are bringing unique experiences and skills in user-centric design, engineering, materials science, computer programming–and simply good old-fashioned ingenuity– and are coupling them with an equally unique understanding of problems that impact the quality of our lives.
For the past few months, the MedStar Institute for Innovation has been working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services IDEA Lab and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to produce a free, open-to-the-public Interactive Celebration of How Tinkering, Technology and Design Tools are Transforming Healthcare. Every attendee will be a participant at Making Health.
At the Making Health event you will have an opportunity to see how the maker movement in health is gaining steam. You can learn from healthcare practitioners, patients, researchers, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and other tinkerers, about the tools and resources available to you to be a maker. And you can touch and test first-hand physical objects that are designed to help people live more independently, in better health, and with greater dignity.
RSVP to attend and learn more here about this unique, informative, and inspiring event.