JeffSolves Brings Medicine and Design Together to Improve Patient Care

Industrial design and med students collaborate with nurses to solve complicated problems. Watch their pitches.
JeffSolves Projects
Multidisciplinary student teams worked together since March to develop products to aid nurses and their patients, including (l-r) NursePOD, Motivity and Acclivity.

Since its inception in 2016, the JeffSolves MedTech program has paired Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and Sidney Kimmel Medical College students to develop innovative solutions to healthcare problems. This year, for the first time, multidisciplinary student teams partnered directly with Jefferson Health nursing departments to identify—and help fix—issues these frontline workers face.

“Nurses see it all,” says Tod Corlett, director of the industrial design programs. “They understand the patients’ issues, see clinicians’ problems and know what they need themselves, which they sometimes don’t get from available products. It’s an amazing opportunity to take advantage of their perspectives and insights into these complicated problems.”

Three teams worked with nursing units at Jefferson Health–Abington, Jefferson Stratford Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. In another new wrinkle, students chose their focus areas based on contextual inquiry with their nursing units. (In previous years, JeffSolves’ organizers assigned problem areas to work within.)

JeffSolves teams with faculty
Thirteen medical and industrial design students—pictured with Dr. Robert Pugliese (left) and Dr. Mark Tykocinski (center)—pitched their products during DesignPhiladelphia on Oct. 19.

Dr. Kate FitzPatrick, Jefferson Health chief nursing executive officer, says nurses are uniquely positioned to address challenges in care delivery.

“We gave our students access to innovation leaders as a means to advance solutions that can enhance patient care and clinical practice,” says Dr. FitzPatrick, associate dean for nursing health systems partnerships and innovation and professor at Jefferson. “It has been powerful to bring together human-centered design and innovation experts with nurses and empower them to lead enhancement work.”

Working together since March, the teams developed products to improve ambulation for an IV system, reimagine the mobile workstation and prevent disoriented patients from pulling out their IVs.

Eric Schneider, associate professor of industrial design, says both medical and design students benefited tremendously from the collaboration.

Watch the full JeffSolves MedTech presentation.

“Design students gained a deeper understanding of how rigorous research practices can drive and reinforce the development process,” he says. “Medical students learned how design practice provides a framework for both iteration and convergence as a concept is developed.”

Not only that, JeffSolves prepared students to succeed as innovators, says Dr. Rose Ritts, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at Jefferson.

“Students experience the innovation process directly while getting support and mentorship from industry and patent experts,” she says.

We gave our students access to innovation leaders as a means to advance solutions that can enhance patient care and clinical practice. –Dr. Kate FitzPatrick

This year, the students presented their concepts at Delve on Oct. 19 as part of DesignPhiladelphia.

University President Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, whose passion for melding medicine and design brought JeffSolves to life in 2016, congratulated all the teams and their faculty mentors for their efforts.

“Sometimes, you seed something, and you never know where it might go,” he says. “It’s just incredible to see what you have done here.”

Here’s a closer look at the three projects, including elevator pitches from the students.

What: NursePOD—A mobile workstation that inspires personalization and maximizes comfort but doesn’t compromise functionality.

Who: Med students Jessica Dragonetti and Sam DeMatte, and industrial design students Nate Godshall and Kalvin Matischak

What Their Mentor Says: Students often begin medical school eager to make impactful changes in the healthcare environment. JeffSolves gives Sidney Kimmel Medical College and industrial design students the opportunity to identify clinical challenges in our health system, create innovative solutions and develop important leadership and collaboration skills.

JeffSolves students collaborated with nurses across our health system to create human-centered solutions to problems they identified in clinical units. As they learned about challenges in bedside care and physical and emotional fatigue, they designed solutions like NursePOD—the mobile workstation reimagined to meet the needs of nurses. Dr. Morgan Hutchinson, assistant medical director of the department of emergency medicine and director of education of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

What: Motivity—An IV system intended for easier ambulation that improves patient and nursing experience, safety and utility.

Who: Med students David Gordon and Rachel Monane, and industrial design students Joseph Braverman and Maitri Doshi

What Their Mentor Says: Our students discovered that the standard IV pole found in hospitals is based upon a coat hanger design from over 100 years ago. They were inspired to redesign the IV pole to make it more user-friendly for patients. Over the summer, they created dozens of prototypes and tested their designs with nurses and hope to fabricate a redesigned IV pole for patients. Dr. Bon Ku, the Marta and Robert Adelson Professor of Medicine and Design and Director of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch: 

What: Acclivity—A securement system that prevents disoriented patients from pulling out their IVs.

Who: Med students Haley DeMartin, Albert “Andy” Huang and Paarth Jain, and industrial design students Julia Ponezk and Ethan White

What Their Mentor Says: Acclivity responds to a need that we heard from many different nurses. Few tools exist for staff who want to ensure their patients’ safety when IV lines get pulled out. What’s available essentially amounts to nurses having to hack together solutions out of the supplies at hand. The negative ramifications on safety and care caused by this issue are significant. By working with nurses, this team came up with a solution that will make the task easier and impact care. Dr. Robert Pugliese, Jefferson’s director of innovation design and managing director of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

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