Medical Device Innovation & Pressure Ulcer Monitoring Technology

Dr. Barrett Larson, physician at Stanford University School of Medicine, Co-founder of Leaf Healthcare, and director of the Stanford Anesthesia Innovation Lab (SAIL), talked about the medical device innovation process and shared stories about his experience developing new medical technology at event.

A recipient of numerous medical technology and innovation awards, Dr. Larson emphasized that the innovation process begins with clinical observations and problem identification.  The next step is to define the clinical need, which should initially be defined in broad terms in order to maximize the number of potential solutions that can be conceived.

His company, Leaf Healthcare, is expanding the applications for wireless patient monitoring by introducing inexpensive, disposable, and easy to use wireless sensors.  One of the first application areas for the technology has been to address hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs). Pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as bedsores, are injuries to the skin that result from prolonged surface pressure. Pressure ulcers put an enormous strain on the healthcare system and upwards of $9B is spent annually treating pressure ulcers in the US.   Since pressure ulcers are considered “never events”, they are not reimbursable and are a source of fines, penalties, and litigation exposure. The Leaf system has been shown to dramatically improve compliance with patient turning schedules, improve nursing efficiency, and reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers.

Dr. Larson also talked about a new device he developed that enables non-optical, magnetically-guided endotracheal intubation. The technology has won first place at the regional level (Western Anesthesia Residents’ Conference) and the national level (Society for Technology in Anesthesia). Dr. Larson also talked about other award-winning projects that he is working on in the context of the Stanford Anesthesia Innovation Lab (SAIL).

The talk was followed by Q&A.

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