The medical device market is expanding into more private healthcare products in hopes of bringing healthcare directly to the user. For example, the increase in popularity of wearable diagnostic devices, such as FitBit, and Apple’s recently released ResearchKit, turning iPhones into medical devices, illustrate that users are ready to look after their own health.
Following this trend, Medical device startup Shift Labs is launching this Spring with a lofty goal: to be “the Nest of medical devices.” Founded by Human Centered Design & Engineering Professor Beth Kolko along with Koji Intlekofer, Shift Labs is looking to provide products to the rapidly expanding market of home healthcare programs, outpatient clinics, and emerging international locales.
The places where healthcare is growing fastest is outside of traditional hospital settings.
There is no reason why we can’t make products for nurses and medical practitioners that they enjoy using. But no one is building products for the people who are going to be providing the care.
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According to its website, Shift Labs’s first product is the DripAssist, a simple, low-cost take on an infusion pump for monitoring IV drips, which runs on a single AA battery. By contrast to typical infusion pumps, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, this patent-pending pump has a suggested retail price of only $225. The DripAssist does not pump fluid in the conventional sense. Instead, it monitors the rate of an IV drip and sounds an alarm if the pace is outside particular threshold values.
The DripAssist is currently being sold in select international markets and for veterinary usage. Shift Labs is still in the process of securing FDA clearance to sell the DripAssist in the United States. USA Today reports that Shift Labs’s next projects in the pipeline are an oxygen monitor, a cooling system for vaccines, and a device to pasteurize breast milk.
Shift Labs states that it received initial startup capital from Y Combinator, which provides seed funding and mentorship for early-stage startups. Other notable companies seeded by Y Combinator include Reddit, Airbnb, Hipmunk, and Dropbox.