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  • The Flomark, a redesign of the hospital drip

West, Jonathan, 2019, Art or design object, The Flomark, a redesign of the hospital drip

Abstract or Description:

Research from prior healthcare design projects revealed the need for an easier way to set infusion rates. This was not new (patents addressing this (e.g. US4136692) date back to the 1970s), but when combined with liaison with healthcare procurement showed the need for cost equivalence with current ‘drips’. This constraint on the design led to the central innovation: the avoidance of drip formation using a U-bend geometry. This gives reliability without need for high manufacturing precision, and is achievable with lower cost manufacturing techniques. Previous solutions have significantly raised manufacturing costs.

The design relies on basic physics principles; however, at low flow rates these do not accurately describe fluid behaviour, and first prototypes were unreliable. Rapid prototyping and bench testing of over 100 design iterations led to an understanding of the problem of drop formation. Experimentation with geometry to avoid drops led to a reliable design, which was tested: twelve infusions (one litre fluid bag infused over twelve hours) were recorded against a control (standard ‘drip’); the results showed an improved fidelity to the infusion rate. Setup time was tested with twelve clinical staff, compared with a control; the results showed significant time savings.

Research into regulatory requirements led to a modification of the design (adding drops later in flow), and the components were refined with manufacturers to improve mouldability and assembly.

The design makes it easier for clinical staff to set up and alter the rate of infusion. This has particular merit in low resource settings where pumps are not viable.

Leading figures in the industry have confirmed that the innovation has commercial merit; currently eight companies are assessing the technology, and initial licensing terms are agreed in Europe. Independent research by potential licensees within their networks in UK hospital procurement confirms that there is a desire for the Flomark.

Subjects: Other > Medicine and Dentistry > A900 Others in Medicine and Dentistry > A990 Medicine and Dentistry not elsewhere classified
Other > Subjects allied to Medicine > B800 Medical Technology > B890 Medical Technology not elsewhere classified
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Research & Innovation
Copyright Holders: Jonathan West
Funders: InnovationRCA
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2019 14:17
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2019 14:17
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3765

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