By Liz Warren-Pederson
As a child, Medovate Solutions team member Austin Brueckner (Eller Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’13) had multiple pulmonary surgeries that required him to use an incentive spirometer during therapy.
“He used a standard adult incentive spirometer for each recovery period due to a lack of a pediatric option,” explained fellow team member Niles Olson (Eller Accounting and Entrepreneurship ’13). “Austin believes that a children’s spirometer would have increased inspiration and resulted in less pulmonary complications for him, decreasing hospital bills for his family.”
Now the two, along with Blake Nordlund (Eller Finance and Entrepreneurship ’13) and Jake Poxon (Eller Finance and Entrepreneurship ’14) have come together around a solution to that problem: an incentive spirometer designed to be a game for kids.
“Two million spirometers are sold annually to children, yet there is no quality children’s spirometer option on the market,” Olson said. “The selection of pediatric spriometers is limited to labeling modifications on an adult spirometer, while our patented design incorporates an interactive sports game within the volumetric chamber. We have basketball, football, and soccer designs within our product line currently, and plan to expand to other designs once more market testing is conducted.”
The team has surveyed and conducted in-depth interviews with pediatric pulmonologists and parents of children with pulmonary complications. “Both groups were responsive to our business model and product,” Olson said. “Doctors believe that a spirometer designed directly for child inspiration will improve child motivation.”
They have contracted an engineering team to develop a prototype, and the first of the prototypes was on display at UA Innovation Day in March. “The prototype development has progressed this far through a lot of sweat equity and a Hearst grant,” Olson said. Hearst Foundations funding supports McGuire teams’ advancement from concept to reality.
“Clinical testing of our mechanical incentive spirometer will begin once we receive our functioning prototype ,” Olson said. “We are hoping that our own research-specific clinical testing will decrease the government-regulated FDA approval period, which is usually three to five months for a class II medical device.”
The team plans to launch as Medovate Solutions LLC after graduation. “We have some exciting ideas for our second product to market, an electronic incentive spirometer, and being able to perform R&D for the future of incentive spirometry would be an incredible experience,” Olson said. “The post-surgery process is extremely difficult for children, and any opportunity to convert scary medical products into an enjoyable experience is a mission we are very dedicated to.”
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