AKDN dHRC conducts cutting-edge research to resolve health care challenges through its Innovation Lab, which was established in 2014. The Lab supports innovative, digital health device and application development by fostering ideation, design, development, testing and implementation. It brings together multidisciplinary teams of designers, mobile and web programmers, researchers, and engineers to develop innovative solutions to address health care challenges experienced in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). During 2018, the Innovation Lab acquired a 3D-printer, which has enabled production of health care devices at low-cost, significantly improving quality of life for marginalized populations.
Since 2014, the Lab has helped design and develop cost-effective innovative solutions. AKDN dHRC, through multidisciplinary research in collaboration with faculty members from the Aga Khan University, filed three international patents in 2018. These patents include a multipurpose scope; ECG On-the-Go and a Resuscitation Automation Device.
The Multipurpose Scope is an adapter for smartphones, which converts the phone into a diagnostic device with three interchangeable modules that can function as otoscope, ophthalmoscope, oral scope, dental scope and dermascope to help examine and capture clinically important images of the parts of a human body, such as skin, ear, nose, throat, eye, teeth and mouth. When attached to a microscope, the device can also capture pathological images. The Multipurpose Scope has been launched at multiple AKDN health sites in East Africa and South Asia to improve access to quality health services in low-resource settings.
The Resuscitation Automation Device helps incubate infants and children in the emergency room where there is a shortage of mechanical ventilators in low-resource settings. Due to these shortages, children who require artificial ventilation are incubated manually, by available staff. AKDN dHRC in collaboration with the Breathhack team, a group of clinicians and researchers, has designed a motor that is attached to an ambu bag. The device aims to help save casualties arising out of shortage of ventilators and staff in the emergency room for manual ventilation. The device was the winner of the CCIT Hack 2016, Aga Khan University’s first medical hackathon hosted by the Aga Khan University Critical Creative Innovative Thinking (CCIT) team.
The ECG On the Go device connects to a mobile application wirelessly through Bluetooth. The device monitors a patient’s ECG while the mobile app shows the ECG reading and diagnosis. Using the device, patients are able to monitor ECG and share results with physicians or save them on smart devices.