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  • Various Authors

TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017 : Healthcare

Time magazine published its annual Best Inventions of the year list yesterday after considering hundreds of inventions from around the world. Let's look at the 4 Healthcare focused inventions that made the 2017 list -

1) eSight 3 - Glasses That Give Sight to the Blind

eSight 3 is an engineering breakthrough that allows the legally blind to actually see.

eSight houses a high-speed, high-definition camera that captures everything the user is looking at. eSight’s algorithms enhance the video feed and display it on two, OLED screens in front of the user's eyes. Full color video images are clearly seen by the eSight user with unprecedented visual clarity and virtually no lag. With eSight’s patented Bioptic Tilt capability, users can adjust the device to the precise position that, for them, presents the best view of the video while maximizing side peripheral vision. This ensures a user’s balance and prevents nausea – common problems with other immersive technologies.

2) Forward - Clinics That Redefine Preventive Care

A New Kind of Health Membership, Augmented with Technology.

Forward is a full-stack company: doctors, designers and engineers work together to build their own software and hardware, including our own electronic health records system. This allows us to innovate faster and prevents us from being held back by legacy systems. We're constantly improving by adding new services and capabilities that are only possible because we rebuilt the entire system from scratch.

Healthcare has a scaling problem: because it's a labor-based business, it's hard to keep costs low. We're building hardware and software to help our care team take care of more people than they could without technology. Our ambition is for Forward to be affordable to everyone.

We started Forward to deliver better health to people at a lower cost. But if we had to do this by working within the existing healthcare system, we wouldn’t even know where to begin. How do you unwind everyone’s broken incentives, retrofit ancient software, and convince a bunch of people to change a system in which they benefit from the status quo? We felt it would make more sense to instead start from scratch and to build things the right way from the start.

We made three major decisions about how to build Forward from scratch:

  • We built it as a health membership instead of a transactional doctor’s office, allowing us to be proactive and preventative instead of reactive

  • We built it as a full-stack company that combines software, hardware, and the actual doctors practicing medicine all under one roof

  • We built it as a product for actual people, not insurance companies

3) Willow Pump - A Portable, Wearable Breast Pump

Willow is unique because everything works inside the Pump and inside your bra—with no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles to hold you back.

First, you align Willow with your breast, wait for the Pump to initiate latch, and then secure it inside your bra. Once latched, Willow senses let-down and automatically switches to expression phase based on your individual milk production. Your milk flows into the disposable, spill-proof Milk Bag tucked securely inside the Pump. And the best part is you can move freely while you pump and track your milk progress in real time on the Willow App.

When you’re done pumping, simply open Willow and remove the Milk Bag (which doesn’t leak, thanks to our innovative one-way valve). Then pour it right into a bottle or store it in the fridge or freezer for later.

As Willow works inside your bra, the Willow App displays what is happening. See things such as milk volume, pumping time and past pumping sessions. Compatible with iPhone 5 or newer.

The Willow App is only available for iOS (iPhone 5 or newer, iOS 10.2 or later). We plan to offer an Android app in the future.

4) Bempu - Wristbands That Help Babies Get a Better Start

Bempu Health is a public health organization funded by the Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, USAID's Saving Lives at Birth, and others. We received our first grant from the Gates Foundation in November 2014 after spending a year in the field meeting with more than 100 pediatricians and neonatologists around India to learn more about the true problems in newborn health care. We worked with doctors to brainstorm solutions, then built + tested prototypes, and now we are distributing our health tech. innovations.

Our first innovation is the Bempu Hypothermia Monitoring Device – a novel neonatal hypothermia monitoring bracelet. Our device is built to serve areas where temperature monitoring is often overlooked due to understaffed hospitals and unaware or uneducated parents. The device alerts in the event of neonatal hypothermia through an intuitive audio-visual alarm, which promotes corrective actions like Kangaroo Mother Care (skin-to-skin contact) and swaddling, as well as positive health-seeking behaviors.

We are a team of passionate and skilled health advocates working together to build technologies that will drastically improve global health. We are currently a team of 15 with expertise in biomedical and mechanical engineering, product design, medical electronics engineering, marketing & operations management, and public health.

As of Summer 2016, our BEMPU Bracelet has protected 1000+ babies in approximately 150 centers across India!

TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017

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