At JeffSolves MedTech, Students Solve Real-World Problems Nurses and Patients Face

Medical, industrial design and textile students collaborate and pitch their concepts.

With students working collaboratively in transdisciplinary teams to solve real-world problems, the annual JeffSolves MedTech program speaks to the University’s DNA.

“It’s a point of distinction for Jefferson that I’m particularly proud of,” says Provost Dr. Matt Baker. “We’re educating people, we’re enhancing creativity and we’re improving patients’ lives.”

For JeffSolves, students worked with University and Jefferson Health faculty, staff and clinicians to gain inspiration and empathy. For the second year, the teams visited nursing departments to identify—and help fix—issues these frontline workers face.

Group photo at JeffSolves MedTech
Three student teams presented their prototypes to Jefferson faculty as part of DesignPhiladelphia. (Photos by ©Thomas Jefferson University Photography Services)

Using human-centered design methods, three teams spent months developing commercializable solutions. The program culminated with a physical prototype that can be used in a clinical study. Students pitched their concepts at Delve on Oct. 5 as part of the DesignPhiladelphia festival.

In her first year as a JeffSolves faculty mentor, textile design professor Becky Flax says the teams’ genuine curiosity and passion inspired her. The program also provided students with a community of connected, design-minded individuals, a better understanding of prototyping, and an in-depth experience working directly with end-users to improve their interaction with a product or system.

“We always say you don’t design in a bubble,” she notes. “JeffSolves pushes the students out of the bubble and into the real world.”

Learn more about the three teams and see their elevator pitches—and the full presentation—below.

What: LineUp—an organizational tool that reduces the frequency of IV-line tangles by shortening the length of excess IV lines and keeping IV lines off the floor.

Who: Industrial design students Matt Katz and Kalvin Matischak, Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Yasmine Eichbaum and Ava Milani, and textile engineering and sciences student Tiffany Liao

Close of the LineUpWhat Their Mentor Says: Combatting a serious systems issue, LineUp improves patient experiences and saves time for their support teams. It can transition between active spaces within a hospital setting or protect a patient in the ICU or extended stay. This incredible team implemented exhaustive research and iterative developments within their prototyping process. How this team worked exemplified what we hope to see in interdisciplinary collaboration. They brought an energy to the creative process that yielded exceptional results. –Becky Flax, Assistant Professor of Textile Design

The Pitch:

What: SoloGo—a toilet paper dispenser designed to be both compact and adjustable in the confined space of the hospital bathroom for patients of all functional levels.

Who: Industrial design student Cariah London and Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Tyler Radack and Steven Yi

SoloGo—a toilet paper dispenser What Their Mentor Says: I love seeing teams lean into solving frequently ignored challenges in taboo spaces. One of the first things nurses pointed out to us when we went to the hospital was how patient bathrooms and toileting independence caused difficulties for patients and staff. Even in a brand-new building, small design decisions—such as the location of the toilet paper holder—led to many embarrassing situations for patients and huge inefficiencies for staff. The team saw this as an opportunity, and by listening to staff and patient needs, they created a solution that could improve patient autonomy, experience and satisfaction and reduce the burden on staff. –Dr. Robert Pugliese, Director of Innovation Design and the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

What: TeleComfort—an innovative redesign of holders for mobile cardiac telemetry devices with improved adaptability and user comfort.

Who: Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Saurav Sumughan and Katherine Yerkes

TeleComfortWhat Their Mentor Says: TeleComfort is a versatile and innovative system for carrying EKG telemetry devices, a rapidly growing element of hospital care. The team’s solution—adaptable to devices sold by multiple vendors—demonstrates the value of product development in an academic setting. –Tod Corlett, the William L. Jasper Chair and Director of Industrial Design Programs

The Pitch:

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Design and Style, Health