The Maker movement is a worldwide phenomenon, as inventors and DIY enthusiasts experiment with 3D printers and microprocessors and other high- and low-technology materials to create novel solutions to problems. This sort of innovation is needed in medical settings, too, which is the reason behind the newly opened MakerHealth Space at the John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas.
The program was created by MakerNurse and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The basic idea is that nurses and other medical staff often identify problems that need new solutions, and they may have ideas on how those solutions should be designed and implement. The MakerHealth Space provides them with the equipment and materials that they need in order to develop working prototypes to improve patient care and treatment. MakerNurse has identified instances of such ingenuity around the country, such as the use of wooden tongue depressors as a paddle to make it easier for some patients to access a nurse call button. The new space is supplied with everything from Velcro and zip ties to sensors and microcontrollers. The list of equipment includes a 3D printer and a laser cutter. There are even facilities to document the creations and show how to make them. Every product has to go through a review process before it can be used with patients.
The MakerHealth Space is intended to make it faster and easier to provide custom solutions, and may even deliver cost savings by providing the right patient-centered solution quickly that have been fabricated on the spot.