Written by: Sanna Gaspard, PhD, founder and CEO of Rubitection (2015 HITLAB World Cup 2nd place winner), a revolutionary medical device company providing a low cost, accessible system for early pressure ulcer (bedsore) prevention management.

Every year 60,000 people die from a preventable condition known as pressure ulcers, commonly called bedsores. Bedsores can result in loss of skin and the development of an open wound subject to a potentially life-threatening infection. This affects the patient’s safety, putting them at risk for death and other complications such as limb amputation. If a bedsore is caught early, the afflicted person’s life can be greatly improved and even saved. Unfortunately, most healthcare facilities don’t have the resources (adequate personnel, appropriate training/protocol, or access to technology) to effectively and consistently prevent bedsores in their patients or residents.

Bedsores are a prevalent and costly worldwide healthcare problem, affecting 2.5 million people every year in the United States (U.S.) alone. Every patient—35 million individuals annually—who is admitted to a hospital or nursing home in the U.S. is evaluated for a bedsore to ensure safety. A bedsore can develop in anyone with limited mobility: the elderly, the hospitalized, cancer patients, amputees, and veterans. Realizing the enormity of the issue—knowing I, my family, and members of my community might one day be faced with this common condition—I focused my graduate work on inventing an early bedsore detection technology: the Rubitect Assessment System.

My interest in healthcare goes back to childhood, when I had a strong desire to be a neonatologist—a doctor who cares for babies born prematurely. This desire to help care for individuals eventually transformed into a desire to invent and develop new medical technology as a biomedical engineer.  

I strongly believe that the future of healthcare innovation lies in technology and services centered around preventative monitoring, care, and early diagnosis; this type of innovation will empower individuals and communities to take better care of themselves and seek treatment before conditions become chronic and costly.

Upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011 with my doctorate in biomedical engineering, I officially launched Rubitection. My vision: to make bedsore prevention easy to save lives around the world.  To do this I invented a low cost tool that makes early diagnosis of a bedsore reliable and easy. 

Rubitection has won several competitions and awards for its work, including 2nd place at the 2015 HITLAB World Cup. Connecting with HITLAB provided Rubitection with an opportunity to meet participating healthcare partners in New York as well as HITLAB’s global partners. Taking second place at the HITLAB World Cup gave Rubitection additional exposure and press to help bring all-important awareness to the problem of bedsores.

Rubitection’s growth has been steady, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to put our technology into the hands of nurses to raise awareness of bedsores, and improve patient care and safety. As Rubitection continues to grow, we seek to build relationships with families afflicted by bedsores; healthcare investors to support our growth; and nursing homes, home care agencies, and hospitals looking to improve quality of care and patient safety.

HITLAB’s mission to improve healthcare around the world aligns with Rubitection’s: we want to bring life-saving technology to the global marketplace and improve care.  Much like HITLAB, I also believe the most exciting healthcare innovation trend is portable, wearable, low-cost medical technology that can easily translate to developing countries. Accurate, low cost technology for use by minimally trained personnel on a smart phone is the future of healthcare innovation. Smart phones and complimentary portable med tech, like Rubitection’s technology, provide an opportunity to democratize healthcare.

Participating in the healthcare technology community, with HITLAB and many others, has been inspiring; inventions that impact both patient and public health are vitally important for our future. I’m looking forward to new solutions that will undoubtedly emerge from the 2016 HITLAB World Cup.

To connect with Rubitection and receive more information on its much-needed, visionary technology, visit Rubitection at: www.rubitection.com.