DtM Kicks off CPAP Design Workshops

Today, Design that Matters kicked off a series of design workshops and product implementation coaching with Dr. Ryan Carroll to design an innovative Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device to save babies from respiratory distress and pneumonia. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under five worldwide - more than AIDS, Malaria, or TB. The goal of our collaboration is to expose the CPAP team to design thinking methods and help the team construct strategies for implementing CPAP to have massive impact for the poor in LMICs.

In our first work session together, we were joined by Smitha Gudapakkam from the MGH Center for Global Health. We covered a lot of ground, including forming a point of view about the need, users, and context for the project; creating an hypothesis for how the program will reach massive impact; prioritizing critical assumptions for the project to reach impact; and then brainstorming over 50 ideas for how how the CPAP could be supplied to hospitals. Throughout the workshop, we used quick sketching techniques to make ideas easier to understand and more memorable. 

In one exercise, we drew slider bars to better depict tensions inherent in the project. One of the central tensions is between making a device that is extremely easy-to-use right out of the box, versus an assembly of off-the-shelf parts that can be more easily repaired. In the United States, CPAP is one of the few devices that is often assembled by healthcare professionals from off-the-shelf parts, even at the highest level hospitals. Ryan noted that having local technicians and healthcare providers build the devices themselves becomes a critical milestone in their training, building confidence to treat babies. 
The workshop was just in time for Ryan to return to Uganda and put these new methods and ideas to work. We look forward to hearing back from Uganda and to taking design thinking even further in our next workshop this Fall!

About the CAMTech CPAP
The CPAP is the center of a novel education program to enable hospitals to diagnose and effectively treat respiratory distress, while building capacity to repair their own CPAP devices locally. The project received the MGH Center for Global Health CAMTech Innovation Award in 2013. Dr. Ryan Carroll is currently co-creating the training program and device with team members from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda.