Friday, October 23, 2015

Med Tech: The Medical Makerspace

Nation's First Medical Makerspace Opens in Texas
University of Texas Medical Branch and MakerNurse Provide 3D Printers, Laser Cutters and More to Help Clinicians Improve Patient Care

Medical staff can use the makerspace to prototype a new tool, to upgrade an existing hospital device, such as adding a sensor to a take-home pill bottle to monitor use, or to customize materials for individual patients. All devices made in the makerspace are sterilized and tested through a quality improvement or institutional review board study before being used on the hospital floor.
“We know nurses have breakthrough ideas for improving health care. Providing them with the space, tools and materials to create these solutions, rather than outsourcing them to engineers and designers, just makes sense.”

There is so much to love about this, I don't know where to start. My own experience with motor control issues and frustration with finding new hobbies has inspired a couple ideas of my own that would make for great 3d printer/maker-space projects. So I'm excited about all that Mixxer is doing and hope they are able to open a physical space soon.

But this -- specific to hospitals -- is just incredible. I worry that already over-worked healthcare professionals won't be able to carve out the time to use it, but I hope that they do. Because more than just a place to create better tools and immediate applications, it could be an opportunity to inspire creative thinking across all aspects of healthcare, encourage and empower providers to look for the best solutions, and provide new ways for patients and providers to connect and collaborate.

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