If you attended the World Maker Faire New York this year, you likely encountered a number of medical makers who are using the act of making to improve medical care in their own unique ways.
One of the organizations well represented at World Maker Faire was called Maker Health. I got to talk to Anna K. Young, pictured above, who co-founded MakerNurse in 2013. She previously ran a non-profit organization in Nicaragua that makes medical devices. This organization also helps bring the necessary tools to hospitals around the world in order to facilitate a larger maker culture in medical fields.
Young currently teaches a course called HST Maker Lab at MIT. The course shows engineering students how to design a toolkit so that anyone can build a medical device.
UTMB Health Maker Space
Next to the Maker Nurse table was a display representing the UTMB Maker HealthSpace. This space could be considered the fulfilment of MakerNurse’s mission, to set up spaces in hospitals to help staff make what they need. That a few items on display: a smart glucometer, representations of body parts, and even a dummy taser used for training hospital security staff.
As seen in the above video (taken from their website), this space has found a wide variety of uses, from a custom “nurse caddy” that allows nurse Cleo Glover to gather supplies for each of her patients, to a left-handed arm board for cardiac patients that was created by nurse Nicole Wooden after she noticed they weren’t available. Finally, burn unit nurse Jason Sheaffer came up with a shower system for chemical burn victims, allowing for a long irrigation time without requiring a nurse to physically be present during the whole process. According to Sheaffer, burn nurses are generally a creative group, making this kind of space a natural fit for him and his colleagues.
Nurse Ernesto Holguin’s Drying and Inspection Apparatus for Diabetics
While the idea of a makerspace inside of a hospital is still a very new idea, medical professionals have been innovating for as long as the profession has existed. Holguin, who was named nurse of the year two years ago, has been working on a device to monitor the healing process of diabetic foot ulcers. The device also includes a drying apparatus.
While this type of ulcer would generally be monitored by health professionals on a monthly basis, this device allows patients to take pictures of their feet and send them and other vital signs to clinicians for more frequent checkups.