Harvard, New Ideas for Elderly Problems

On Monday November 28th, the Harvard Healthcare Innovation Group, a NCIIA supported organization, held its first event at the Harvard Innovation Laboratory.  The group, currently in the form of a 160 person mailing list, materialized its support into an event with the purpose to promote the creation of a medical venture community.  This first event’s main goal was to get members to meet each other, generating a network of students from across the harvard schools.  To facilitate this a design challenge was created to stimulate collaboration among the members, however what began as an ice breaker quickly became a extremely productive brainstorm session.  The sixty plus students that participated in the design challenge, which was to reduce the incidence of hip fractures from falls in geriatric patients, produced some fantastic ideas.  First our guest speaker Dr. Medha Munshi introduced the challenge and gave a short speech outlining the important aspects to the problem from a geriatricians point of view.  Then groups of students at each table, which were diverse with individuals from each of the respective schools, wrote ideas for devices and marketing opportunities on whiteboards.  Some of the more unique ideas were engineered furniture lines to reduce falls, robotic walkers that follow the patients, detachable hospital IV lines to reduce tangling, and shoe sonar sensors to detect objects.  Overall the event was a fantastic success, having produced some fantastic ideas and discussions, and the HHIG looks forward to putting on another, larger event in the future.

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