There are two main challenges. First of all, the coverage for the diagnosis is a lot more reduced than it is in richer countries. It’s caused by two main reasons: (1) the third countries don’t have proper medical technology and (2) there is a lower number of trained specialists. This creates an environment in which specialists and technologies are centralized in large public clinics and hospitals in major cities that can acquire medical technology and employ proper specialists.
The second problem is that the budget for treatment in developing countries is a lot smaller than the budget you might see in richer countries.
We have two possible ways to solve these problems. First, we have to focus on increasing the coverage of the population, making sure that everybody has access to diagnosis. This can happen through affordable MedTech mixed with telemedicine applications that can help surgeons operate or assist in surgeries remotely. Based in big cities, they can check patients from rural areas or small towns. By allowing diagnosing patients in different locations, simultaneously we can multiply the number of specialists at a given point in time.
The second solution is to make treatments more accessible. Currently, the development of treatment machines and procedures is leaning towards the safety of patients, which is really good. However, this involves the creation of many single-use tools and consumables that generate tons of pollution but simultaneously make the medical procedures a lot more expensive.
To tackle this problem, we need to focus on a medical innovation that, although guaranteeing the safety of the patient, can be reusable and applied in different countries. Although surgeons might have a lower budget, this way we’ll be decreasing the overall cost of every single surgery.
There are two great examples of MedTech companies spreading the ideas that we mentioned. The first one is Rice University where researchers create so-called sterile boxes. It’s an all-in-one sterilization station built into a 20-foot shipping container. They put everything on the shipping container and feed it with solar power to enable steam sterilization with machines inside there. Plus, they have a built-in water filtering system.
Then, a very good and popular example is the laboratory of Professor Manu Prakash at Stanford. They create tools, such as microscopes that can help see droplets of water and blood and cost under €1. These tools help diagnose patients in remote locations and poor countries. We’ve recently noticed a centrifuge system that they were developing. It cost around 20 cents. This is incredible.
We at Custom Surgical are on the same mission with our MicroREC that is affordable and accessible for specialists all around the world but also enables telemedicine and online medical education.
Consultation has to have no boundaries. We want to see the future in which healthcare is accessible for everybody. And this is why we are trying to democratize access to MedTech innovation and enable telemedicine. We believe we can make our mission a reality through affordable hardware and mobile software applications.