Too often we ignore the challenges in developing countries when looking toward revolutionizing the medical device industry. I don't know about you, but when someone says. This is innovative and groundbreaking stuff, my mind immediately jumps to thinking about how bank-breaking it must also be. Lucky for us, Arbutus Medical, a startup out of the University of British Colombia, has developed a new device that is intended to reduce costs and increase safety of surgical procedures in developing countries.
Arbutus Medical worked to address the issue of many ORs in developing countries permitting the use of consumer-grade power drills in surgical procedures, as opposed to the exclusively surgical geared power drills that we have become accustomed to in North America and Europe. Instead of attempting to sell expensive, high-end powered surgical instruments to facilities that can barely afford to remain operational, Arbutus chose to develop an inexpensive sterile cover for consumer-grade power drills. The drill is inserted into Arbutus. Drill Cover, and there is a mechanism in place to fit the appropriate drill bits into the handpiece. This cover minimizes the chance of infection during surgical procedures at a low cost while allowing facilities to continue using the power drills that they own.
The logic behind this device was that consumer-grade power drills are not easy to sterilize, and the sterilization process takes far too long for facilities with limited numbers of power drills available at a given time. Additionally, treating infections is even more difficult when you have crowded facilities, short-staffed with a tight budget. The invention of the sterile Drill Cover helps alleviate some of that follow-up traffic from post-surgical infections, and allows patients to rest easy, knowing that their surgical solution did not end up giving them a new problem to worry about. All in all, I'm glad to see a company releasing a product that so much good can come from, and I firmly believe that this product will see rapid adoption in emerging markets. Go Arbutus, go!