Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘innovation’


Photo: Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
IV Safe T developers Melinda Watman (left) and Maggie McLaughlin have spent about $5,000 to make a prototype to keep IVs from slipping out of newborns.

Nurses have been a largely overlooked source of innovative ideas although they are constantly jury-rigging improvements to keep patients comfortable. Fortunately, people in the medical-device field are beginning to recognize the possibilities.

Andy Rosen writes at the Boston Globe, “Maggie McLaughlin’s path from nurse to entrepreneur started last year when an IV tube became unhooked from an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit at Tufts Medical Center, where she works, causing the child to begin bleeding unexpectedly.

“A specialist in IV procedures, McLaughlin was asked to study ways of preventing such an incident from happening again, and she learned there is no universally accepted tool to safely lock the line onto an infant’s tiny body. …

“Since then McLaughlin has been working to develop an IV connection that lies flatter on an infant’s skin and holds more securely to the needle than the alternatives on the market today. She has teamed up with a former nurse she met at a Northeastern University event to form a company called IV Safe T to make and market the device.

“McLaughlin is among a number of nurses — with the help of programs from nursing schools and their own hospitals — who are using their bedside experience to develop new products and innovations in the medical industry.

“Rebecca Love, director of the year-old Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at NU, said research has shown that nurses spend a significant portion of each shift using workarounds and making impromptu fixes to ineffective processes or equipment. …

“The NU program, which connects nurses to resources and guidance to help them carry out their ideas, said it has attracted 1,600 people to events it has held, and it has connected at least 20 nurses to business mentors. …

“These programs strive to put nurses on equal footing with other professions, including doctors. … Some who follow innovation in health care say nurses represent a relatively untapped reservoir of expertise about improving patient care. …

“McLaughlin calls her device ‘Lang lock,’ after her maiden name. The rounded device connects tubing to an IV catheter with a single twist, and it has one flat side to make the needle approach the skin at a lower angle so it sits more securely.

“She has teamed up with Melinda J. Watman, a former nurse who later got an MBA and went into business. … NU has been helping them to protect their intellectual property and study the market.”

More at the Boston Globe, here.

Read Full Post »

I thought today would be a good day to note that, with the right supports in place, veterans who have suffered post-traumatic stress while serving the country can move forward with their lives.

The willingness of some of these service men and women to expose their story in the media strikes me as an extra level of bravery.

Kathy McCabe writes at the Boston Globe about Army veteran Michael Saunders.

“Saunders, who served from 2002 to 2006, deployed twice to Iraq … He started therapy at the VA outpatient clinic in Lynn, where a counselor suggested he focus on a new mission: going to college.

“ ‘She said I would make more money with a college degree,’ said Saunders, who worked for a lumberyard after his discharge from the Army.

“He enrolled in VITAL — an acronym for Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership — a national program that helps veterans transition from soldier to student. VITAL brings VA services, including mental health counseling, to college campuses. …

“According to Pam Flaherty, dean of students, Middlesex Community College had nearly 600 student veterans in 2014-15. In the last year, 70 who have PTSD have taken part in VITAL and received mental health care on campus. …

“The Bedford VA also offers the VITAL program at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, North Shore Community College in Danvers and Lynn, Endicott College in Beverly, and Salem State University.

“Saunders, who graduated from Everett High School in 1999, is in his second year studying liberal arts at Middlesex Community College in Bedford. He has discovered a talent for writing, and hopes to transfer to Emerson College next year.

“ ‘It was a rough start, but I’m doing fine now,’ said Saunders, who also has a job at the college’s Veterans Resource Center. ‘Had the VA not had the service in place here, I wouldn’t have come.’ …

“ ‘I can sit in class now, for an hour and 20 minutes,’ Saunders said. ‘I couldn’t sit still for 10 minutes before.’ He has a lingering fear of crowds, so he adjusted his seat in the classroom.

“ ‘ I have to be able to see the door, and I don’t like anybody behind me,’ Saunders said. ‘If I can’t do that, I can’t focus.’

“For one class, Saunders wrote a story called ‘The Dark Is Afraid of Me,’ a fictional account of a military mission in Iraq.

“ ‘It was really easy for me to tell the story,’ Saunders said. ‘When the professor read the paper, she was like, “You need to go see a publisher, now.”

” ‘Maybe I will.’ ”

More such stories at the Globe, here.

080115-flag

Read Full Post »

If you want people to innovate, get out of the way. That’s what I think must have happened when Bill Littlefield launched his sports program at WBUR. Clearly, someone gave him freedom to do it his own kooky way, and when radio stations around the country wanted to carry the program, that laissez-faire manager must have smiled.

Both sports fans and non-sports fans like Littlefield’s show. He covers all the usual sports topics but also showcases offbeat competitions like this one at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. Karen Given was the reporter.

“Just 15 minutes before game time, the vast and serene campus green at Vermont College of Fine Arts showed no signs of the annual Writers vs. Poets softball game. There were no bats, no balls, no bases, and no players. Suddenly, Victorio Reyes stormed onto the scene.

“ ‘First of all I’m a poet,’ he said. … ‘There’s two things,” Reyes continued. “One: the United States invests way too much money in sports and too much emotion, okay? That’s the first thing. The second thing? This game is life or death. That’s all you need to know.’ …

“No one seems to know the overall record. Louise Crowley, director of the MFA in Writing program, said the game itself is similarly imprecise.

“ ‘We might have 50 people in the outfield. It’s just kinda an informal, crazy game.’

“ ‘Eventually, will there be bases?’ I asked.

“ ‘There will be bases, yes,’ Crowley said. ‘There will be bases, there will be a batter, there will be a catcher, you know. But other than that, it’s just sort of a free flowing, everything goes.’ …

“After dinner, there’s a reading, and then hours of painstaking writing and re-writing before workshops begin again early tomorrow morning. …

“Poetry instructor Matthew Dickman had a preexisting injury this time around, so his job was to provide inspiration — of the negative variety.

“ ‘Whenever a fiction writer gets to bat, a student, I’m going to sit behind them and talk about how difficult it is to get published,’ Dickman said. ‘How they’ll probably just go back to working wherever they work and their dreams will come to an end.’  …

“Every once in a while, the pitcher lobbed in a good one and the batter managed a hit — usually a pop fly that floated over the outfield. And, although the number of outfielders had ballooned to at least a dozen, every single one of those pop flies dropped to the grass.” More at Only a Game.

I laughed all the way through this report.

Photo: Going the Distance Blog
At the annual Vermont College of Fine Arts softball game, it’s war. Cats vs. dogs have nothing on poets vs. prose writers.

Read Full Post »

The Globe‘s Callum Borchers wrote recently about an organization called Seeding Labs, which presented at the IDEAS conference in Boston.

Founder Nina Dudnick, he says, “collects and ships used lab equipment to developing countries.

“Last year, Seeding Labs hosted six scientists and researchers from Kenya, one of whom was a chemist, Mildred Nawiri, who is studying how certain vegetables that are indigenous to West Africa might help prevent cancer.

“On Wednesday, Dudnick pointed to Nawiri’s research as an example of work that is unlikely to be done in the United States, because the vegetables she is studying do not grow here.

“And whatever benefits she might discover could go unrealized without modern equipment. Before Seeding Labs, Nawiri was using techniques Western scientists employed in the 1800s, Dudnick said.”

Dudnick points out that “this talent really is everywhere. The problems that face us, like cancer, don’t respect boundaries drawn on a map, so why should our scientific community?”

More at the Globe.

Read Full Post »

Here’s an inventor who doesn’t know the meaning of giving up. After 19 years of keeping the faith, she finally got the attention she needs for her culinary invention — a marinating stick.

Jack Hitt has the story at the NY Times.

“Mary Hunter has always been happy to cook for her congregation at the Yes Lord Church in Gary, Ind. Her recipes, she told me, come directly from God.  … Prayer is ‘where I get 99 percent of my recipes.’

“Mrs. Hunter, who is 73, likes to cook big roasts for her church, ‘and if I had a difficult piece of meat I might marinate it in some beer and celery’ with a blend of her secret seasonings. When she learned that she had diabetes and high blood pressure, though, she had to cut out her salty marinades and cook the meat more blandly.

“Then, one day, God had an idea. ‘I was writing down some recipes and God said to me that I should take that ink pen and stick holes all through it and put a clip on one side so that you can open it’ — lengthwise — ‘and then put your onions and your garlic and your aromatics down the middle and put it inside your meat — then, you won’t have to eat bland foods.’ And so was born her invention, a long stainless steel device that, according to tests in restaurants and elsewhere, far outperforms those herbal injectors and other disappointing methods for introducing flavors into the interior of a big piece of meat.

“Later this month, Mary’s Marinating Sticks are scheduled to go on sale in Target stores.”

It was a long road, and it started back  in 1994. Read how stick-to-it-iveness and determination finally won the day, here.

Photo: Sally Ryan for The New York Times
It was 1994 that Mary Hunter got her idea for an innovative marinating stick. Today her persistence has paid off.

Read Full Post »

People interested in imaginative uses of space to make cities more livable should get over to the Boston Society of Architects on Congress St. before September 29, when an intriguing exhibit closes.

Eight of us visited at lunch today, and the BSA’s marketing director went around the Reprogramming the City exhibit with us pointing out highlights and answering questions.

We saw photos of a lamppost that doubles as an umbrella, a staircase in Hong Kong (below) made into a public lounge, bus stops in Sweden using sun lamps at night, a “low line” community space under a highway (like New York’s high-line concept but under not over), a repurposed parking machine that spits out “tickets” describing how a nearby problem area has been fixed by the city of Boston, street mosaics in Portugal that have a QR code for accessing tourist information, and a Dutch solution to recycling teddy bears and other usable goods curbside for passerby to pick up. The list goes on.

I tried to round up more people to join the excursion, but business meetings at lunch seem to come first. It always surprises me that folks don’t take advantage of cultural activities at lunch: we are surrounded by really nice ones. At least the farmers market is popular. People always have time for that.

More on Reprogramming the City at the BSA website, where you can take an audio tour.

Update 9/18/13 — See some great pictures from the exhibit at the Boston Globe, here.

Photo: Scott Burnham
The Cascade by Edge Design Institute, 2007, Central Hong Kong.
Right, Urban Air by Stephen Glassman, 2010.

Read Full Post »

Another good lead from the voracious reader of magazines in my household.

This Smithsonian story shows how a relatively simple invention made it possible for the Impressionists to do much more painting outdoors, en plein air.

Perry Hurt writes, “The French Impressionists disdained laborious academic sketches and tastefully muted paintings in favor of stunning colors and textures that conveyed the immediacy of life pulsating around them. Yet the breakthroughs of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and others would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for an ingenious but little-known American portrait painter, John G. Rand.

“Like many artists, Rand, a Charleston native living in London in 1841, struggled to keep his oil paints from drying out before he could use them. At the time, the best paint storage was a pig’s bladder sealed with string; an artist would prick the bladder with a tack to get at the paint. But there was no way to completely plug the hole afterward. And bladders didn’t travel well, frequently bursting open.

“Rand’s brush with greatness came in the form of a revolutionary invention: the paint tube. Made from tin and sealed with a screw cap, Rand’s collapsible tube gave paint a long shelf life, didn’t leak and could be repeatedly opened and closed.

“The eminently portable paint tube was slow to be accepted by many French artists (it added considerably to the price of paint), but when it caught on it was exactly what the Impressionists needed to abet their escape from the confines of the studio, to take their inspiration directly from the world around them and commit it to canvas, particularly the effect of natural light.

“For the first time in history, it was practical to produce a finished oil painting on-site, whether in a garden, a café or in the countryside.” More.

Dear artist friends, I can picture what it would have been like for you traveling by train after an outing to some scenic spot before this invention. “Oh, Madame, I am so terribly sorry. I’m afraid my cobalt pig’s bladder burst!”

Photo: Chrysler Museum of Art
The tin tube, below, was more resilient than its predecessor (the pig bladder), enabling painters to leave their studios.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: