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A Smart Bandage and RBM


By Penny Manasco - October 23, 2017

We’ve all heard the saying, “Out of the mouths of babes and minds of teenagers (oft times comes gems)”.  Ok, well I made up that last part about the “minds of teenagers” but here’s why.
 
Anushka Naiknaware, a seventh-grade student, was the youngest person ever to win a top ranking in the International Google Science Fair.  She also won a Global Builder Award from event sponsor Lego for finishing overall in the top-eight winners.
 
Her invention - a smart bandage. Here’s how Ms. Naiknaware’s teenage brain identified a problem and created a solution near and dear to all who embrace the value and virtues of remote monitoring and risk based monitoring (RBM).
 
First, identify the problem.  Major wounds require specific levels of moisture to promote healing but if healthcare providers change a patient’s bandage too often, it can disrupt the body’s healing process.
 
The solution; embed tiny monitors/sensors to monitor moisture levels and alert healthcare providers when the patient’s bandages have dried to a level where it should be changed to optimize the healing process.
 
Sound like RBM?  Absolutely.  Here’s why:  Ms Naiknaware identified the critical data (requirement for specific amounts of moisture for proper healing) and the most important aspects required in the outcome (only change the bandage when the moisture level drops below a critical value).  She then developed a tool to measure the moisture and signal that the bandage needed to be changed.  Her test was not a general test (the bandage had been in place a certain number of days), but rather designed to measure her critical variable, which had a direct effect on the outcome.  By choosing and measuring a specific variable important to the outcome, Ms. Naiknaware was implementing a risk-based approach to monitor the healing process.
 
Ms. Naiknaware deserves kudos for her ideas and invention (in addition to the scholarship and other prizes she won).  Google and Lego also deserve kudos for sponsoring the competition and rewarding ideas that use technology to monitor patients remotely and to reduce safety risks (e.g., delayed healing, infection, etc.).
 
Please let me know if you’ve seen any innovation that promotes remote monitoring and RBM.