One-line solution summary:
A device to regulate infusion into the body using artificial intelligence.
Pitch your solution.
Last year 76,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children died for one simple reason – they had high blood pressure and were not given magnesium sulfate at a specific rate and time through an infusion. This is because today, the infusion process is very manual and dependent on the memory of medical practitioners.
This is why we built our first product - RealDrip, a device that makes blood transfusion and drip treatment simpler, safer and more data-driven. This drip and blood transfusion device leverages the Internet of Things technology and Machine Learning to monitor dosages, flow rate and times taken as indicated on the treatment plan. We connect this to dashboards and alerts powered by simple web services to keep health professionals informed about each patient’s specific medical situation.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
10 million women suffer high blood pressure during pregnancy each year around the world. High blood pressure during pregnancy also known as pre-eclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Pre-eclampsia impacts 5-8% of all births in the United States. In the developing world, severe forms of pre-eclampsia are more common, ranging from 4% of all deliveries to as high as 18% in parts of Africa. According to WHO, to prevent maternal deaths and infant deaths due to high blood pressure, magnesium sulfate through infusion is the recommended solution at a specific rate.
Just like every other high-cost clinical tool, the infusion pump needed to deliver precise infusion such as the magnesium sulfate is bulky, expensive, and complex to use. In the US, this cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, so many hospitals and clinics ration the usage for patients. In Nigeria and other developing countries, the infusion process is very manual and dependent on the memory of trained medical practitioners to calculate infusion drip rates. This complexity potentially leads to the death of 76,000 pregnant women and 500,000 babies annually.
What is your solution?
RealDrip, is a clinical tool that makes blood transfusion and drip treatment simpler, safer, and more data-driven. This tool helps clinicians monitor the flow rate during gravity infusion, track dosage administration, and process automation through an alarm, SMS, and automated calls.
The device is designed to be placed on the drip chamber of a tubing set, and provides precision feedback on infusion drip rate. RealDrip eliminates the guesswork in setting the infusion flow rate and tells the user precisely how fast the fluid is flowing, which allows the healthcare worker to know how much medication the patient is receiving. The device works with any standard infusion set, and it can calculate flow rate (mL/h), drops per minute (dp/m) and total volume (mL) of fluids administered.
RealDrip is a combination of software and hardware. The device also incorporates edge computing to deploy automated reasoning algorithms for self-balancing and self-calibration. The RealDrip mobile app and web dashboard provide visualizations to track the treatment process and provide alerts powered by simple web services to keep health professionals informed about each patient’s specific medical situation.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Our purpose is to save lives by empowering today’s medical team with affordable clinical tools. The RealDrip device helps clinicians monitor patients on infusion (blood transfusion and drips) treatment to reduce clinical errors. The product directly improves the planning, process, and productivity of medical personnel, the secondary effect is keeping patients safe since approximately 80% of all patients in the hospital will receive intravenous therapy, especially pregnant women and babies.
For impact in health to be real and sustainable, modern technologies must be embraced and incorporated in a timely intervention. Most clinical solutions focus on ‘making a quick sale’ to clinics without simplifying; clinicians have no choice than to make use of available tools to deliver care, which always leaves them devastated. Doctors run clinics, not engineers, and they are unable to understand the complexities of these clinical tools clearly. We understand this and engaged the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), the most extensive federal government-owned medical research facility in Nigeria, this is to ensure that we build products that today’s medical team can relate to and ultimately use to save lives. The product already received ethical and clinical approval from the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Expand access to high-quality, affordable care for women, new mothers, and newborns
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
For safer labor and delivery, precise infusion of magnesium sulfate and oxytocin for pregnant women is crucial. In Nigeria and other developing countries, the infusion process is very manual and dependent on the memory of trained medical practitioners to calculate infusion drip rates. In the US and other developed countries, typical infusion pumps cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, so many hospitals and clinics save them for some specific patients. Our product, RealDrip gives access to precise and smarter infusion at a 98% price reduction of a typical infusion pump.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Lagos, Nigeria
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
To use existing clinical tools for precise infusion, this requires constant re-training of health professionals to follow the traditional and complex procedures already incorporated in those tools, which often add to the extra cost of healthcare. So we investigated and identified the key factors that contributed to why traditional clinical tools are bulky, expensive, and complex to navigate.
We took all these complexities into account and built RealDrip, making it easy for clinicians to administer infusion treatment, count infusion drip rate, fluid management, and process automation.
It is so simple to use and doesn’t require any training. Anybody from individuals to clinics can use the tool to administer infusion therapy quickly with little or no technical know-how.
It provides real-time notification and actionable feedback mechanisms for better care. The onboard visual display, mobile, and web dashboard allow it to show the flow rate in realtime to the users, reducing the time taken to track drip treatment.
It is more data-driven and optimized for data analysis and machine learning to help improve the clinical process. This also aids documentation of infusion treatment.
It is affordable, mobile with excellent user experience to improve the productivity, planning, and process of the clinicians. This tool costs $100 as compared to the complex infusion pump, which costs from $5000 - $15000.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
RealDrip is a combination of hardware and software leveraging the internet of things and artificial intelligence to simplify intravenous therapy.
The device runs on an ARM architecture dual-core chip with inbuilt Wi-Fi with two-way communications (M2M). The RealDrip device consists of biosensors (proprietary circuitry) that measures and tracks intravenous fluid. Edge computing reduces latency and ensures a fast response from the device for measurement, analysis and data transmission to the cloud. The Anomaly Detection Algorithm improves the efficiency of the device operation, and the Automatic Reasoning Algorithm (ARA) predicts the best flow rate for treatment, adjusts and maintains a steady flow rate when needed. The ARA works simplify by studying the historic treatment flow rate. Establish a pattern and use that to suggest future treatment for clinicians addressing similar conditions to help reduce medication errors and allow the doctors to maintain a steady flow rate for their patients when needed.
The data aggregated from the device is displayed on an actionable embedded screen and is also sent to the cloud for further business intelligence to display results on a web dashboard and mobile app in real-time.
All the data aggregated over time is also used to make the device smarter by helping the medical practitioner give patients more personalized treatments based on the individual genome with our Recommendation system.
Provide evidence that this technology works.
We hack engineering fluid mechanics in biological systems with one of the important assumptions in the Poiseuille equation, which is the Newtonian fluid condition to build our proprietary circuitry that measures and tracks intravenous fluid. Generally, biofluid mechanics and medicine use this equation for cardiovascular problems, and usually, the viscosity of whole blood is considered constant in a Newtonian sense. This assumption is the most straightforward technique to solve the fluid dynamic problems. Water and plasma also have a linear relationship between shear stress and shear rate for all shear rate values. For shear rate less than 100 s−1, the whole blood has nonlinear behavior, which is called non-Newtonian fluid. Whole blood has a viscosity of ~3 centipoise (cP) or ~0.003 Pascal second (Pa·s). We leveraged all of these scientifically proven bases to build the technological components of our product RealDrip.
Furthermore, after extensive review of our approach and technology by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the product received ethical and clinical approval from the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research with clinical trials across four wards at the Federal Medical Center, Lagos.
Here is the link to a short demo that was recorded at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 in London - https://youtu.be/WRk302r0WhI
Full demo by our medical lead - https://youtu.be/wgbYjpKfi9k
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
To make infusion treatment simpler and safer for pregnant women and babies, We have built a clinically acceptable device at a lower cost and have shipped two versions of the software (web dashboard & Mobile App). We have completed regulatory approval needed to operate in Nigeria and we have successfully reduced the cost of producing a single unit of the device from a series of optimization to produce version 2 of the hardware. We achieved this reduction because the internal team builds the product, and this gives room for us to experiment and test as fast as possible. We strive to reduce this cost further to serve more maternal clinics, especially in rural communities because quality healthcare is about affordability and accessibility.
Based on the feedback during the clinical trial at the Federal Medical Center, we confirmed our underlying assumptions, and the clinicians were most excited about the simplicity & functionality of the product. One particular thing to note is that they were happy that they could conveniently monitor their patients undergoing infusion on their mobile phones even when they are not in the same facility with the patient: which will reduce their overhead stress drastically. Overall, we have positioned the product to potentially save 76,000 pregnant women and 500,000 babies from dying annually.
Aside from maternal health, our solution is applicable to other secondary treatment highlighted below in the clinical environment;
Maternal Care - the delivery of magnesium sulfate and oxytocin;
Neonatal, Pediatric, and Elderly Care - for fluid management;
Infectious Disease Management - the delivery of quinine and fluid management for cholera;
Pre-Hospital Medication Administration - the delivery of vasopressors - epinephrine and dopamine;
Outpatient and Ambulatory Infusion - the delivery of chemotherapy, antibiotics, IVIG, and chronic inflammatory disease.
We are on a quest to make healthcare radically more lean, efficient, and interoperable. We are using the physical internet to shift healthcare from curing the sickness to enabling wellness because nobody deserves to die from preventable clinical and surgical errors.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We deployed 40 units of RealDrip devices built from our mini-lab to serve 400 unique patients across 600 infusion treatments for the clinical trials.
We are going to deploy an additional 100 devices to serve about 1500 new unique patients per month at a minimum in one year. This will be a total reach of 18,000 new patients in a year.
In the next 5 years, the goal is to deploy about 15,000 devices to serve 200,000 unique patients monthly. This is a reach of 2,400,000 unique patients annually across various infusion treatment such as; Maternal Care; Neonatal, Pediatric, and Elderly Care; Infectious Disease Management; Pre-Hospital Medication Administration; Outpatient and Ambulatory Infusion - the delivery of chemotherapy, antibiotics, IVIG, and chronic inflammatory disease.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
We have completed the necessary regulatory approvals to operate in Nigeria. Within the next year, our goal is to mass-produce the device to serve more patients and reach a large measurable impact. We aim to deploy 5000 devices across various clinics in Nigeria and lay the foundation for precise infusion treatment in the country. We would file for FDA approval to expand to other Africa countries and eventually to the rest of the world.
To fast track our FDA approval process, we conducted clinical trials with a multi-ward, gold-standard trial at the Federal Medical Center. This is a step ahead in obtaining FDA 510(k) device clearance. Furthermore, we would be working closely with FDA approved manufacturers. This approach and pathway to FDA approval are much faster and cheaper than the common premarket approval (PMA) application.
Within the next five years, we would lay the foundation for simpler and safer intravenous therapy. Top priority is addressing medication errors in obstetrics, we would expand our AI models based on de-identified historic treatment data to this effect. We would make our APIs available for existing pump manufacturers in the US and UK. This is to make their existing product smarter and overall improve patient safety. Leveraging our point of care solution, we would provide imminent/prescriptive analytics based on de-identified genomic information to biopharma. The overall aim is to improve drug discovery for maternal care and accelerate relevant research to reduce maternal mortality.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Next Year - Healthcare is a heavily regulated sector especially solutions at the point of care. While we have completed regulatory approval to serve patients in Nigeria, to achieve our global goals of reducing maternal mortality it is important to obtain FDA approval. Filing for FDA approval is a hurdle that we must overcome.
Next Five Years - The health sector is slow to adopt new solutions especially solutions that involve technology to improve care delivery. We need to capture the value we have created to improve access to precise intravenous therapy which is beneficial to the patients and health professionals.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Next Year - We are working with the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to overcome regulatory approval in Nigeria and would be instrumental to proceed for FDA approval next year. Besides, to fast track our FDA approval process, we conducted clinical trials with a multi-ward, gold-standard trial at the Federal Medical Center. This is a step ahead in obtaining FDA 510(k) device clearance. Furthermore, we would be working closely with FDA approved manufacturers. This approach and pathway to FDA approval are much faster and cheaper than the common premarket approval (PMA) application.
Next Five Year - One of the incentives to drive clinical adoption is to provide quality care at an affordable cost. We successfully reduced the cost of a single unit of the device through a series of R&D and optimization to produce several versions of the hardware. We achieved this reduction because the founding team contributed significantly to product development, which allows us to iterate and test quickly. We would reduce this cost further during mass manufacturing. To capture the value, we are gathering validation and approval from healthcare and relevant stakeholders.
What type of organization is your solution team?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
How many years have you worked on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Our team and advisory is composed of diverse and experienced people in both engineering, business and medical professions. We are experts in building sensor networks, writing firmware for numerous microcontrollers and processors, IoT protocols (MQTT, CoAP, HTTP, AMPP), and building cloud infrastructure for IoT. We are also experienced in data preparation, feature engineering, predictive modelling, training models to deployment, etc. and crafting addictive user experience; plus we have close relationships with the key stakeholder in the healthcare sector (ministries of health, clinics and banks that fund healthcare)
We have spent over 2 years of arduous work building and testing the product to validate every hypothesis that we had, this involves working closely with various health stakeholders across the country and a partnership with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (the most extensive Federal owned medical research facilities).
As a team of expert engineers and medical scientists, we see no reason why clinical tools are complicated, expensive and have vague communication for interoperability. However, our 3+ years deep-dive into the healthcare sector gave us valuable insight. The experience validated our problem-solving process of why clinical tools must be approached from the first principles rather than the complicated/traditional method.
In addition to our unique skillsets combination, we have been evaluated by expert faculty and has also received numerous awards and commendations including Cisco Global Problem Solver Award, FbStart from Facebook, Microsoft Imagine Cup, African Leadership Academy Anzisha Prize, UK-Africa Investment Summit, and Heritage Bank Innovation Award.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) - We are working with the most extensive federal owned medical research facility in Nigeria to dive deep into the technology adoption in the clinical environment and complete regulatory approval. Working with NIMR, we have obtained ethical approval from the institutional review board and conducted clinical trials.
FbStart Accelerator from Facebook - This is a program by Facebook to help startups and businesses using deep technology to solve global problems. We worked with the accelerator team to get initial R&D funding to build a proof of concept. Here is a story about our solution by Facebook - https://developers.facebook.com/success-stories/trep-labs/
What is your business model?
Subscription - RealDrip service utility model that is based on a monthly fixed fee over a renewable 5 year contract. No upfront payment, we provide the device, web dashboard, mobile app, accessories, access to analytics and future product offering around the device. Our primary customers are clinics and healthcare systems who pay us directly at an affordable cost to cater for patients.
Analytics - De-identified data aggregated will be passed through business intelligence to provide analytics for pharmaceutical companies and research institutions on a contract.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Organizations (B2B)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Our path to financial sustainability is revenue-driven from subscriptions paid by healthcare systems, analytics sales to pharmaceutical companies, and research institutions. This process would be backed by raising investment capital and grants to fund initial operations.
Why are you applying to Solve?
MIT Solve has a distinguished track record for transforming good solutions into great ones and building amazing companies. Building a global healthcare company requires expertise that has helped create excellent health tech, having supported healthcare companies, Solve interest in healthcare, impact and success in transforming healthcare companies particularly influenced our decision to apply.
Our plan is to obtain FDA approval next year. Leveraging Solve's deep root in the US, solvers team and expertise in guiding healthcare startups, we are confident to receive the necessary guidance to navigate the process. Reaching some corporate partners and stakeholders is a difficult challenge, we hope to overcome the barrier through the solve program.
We believe that we can 20x our impact and growth both as a company and as founders by joining the Solver family.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
We would like to have a mutually-beneficial partnership with corporate entities in healthcare especially maternal care (like Johnson and Johnson) to leverage their expertise, distribution network, and broaden our understanding of value-creation for maternal care.
We also hope to work with the MIT media lab faculty for mentorship and access to advanced prototyping tools to help accelerate R&D and further help us to create better products at a lower cost to reach a large measurable impact.