Louis Weijers, left, of Min-Bio, and Angel Dominguez of Spectrum Health look over the Angel Ortho Basin. Courtesy Spectrum Health Innovations
A health system’s innovation arm has signed a licensing agreement with a medical device company to make a product developed by a surgical technician.
Spectrum Health Innovations, or SHI, which focuses on the development and launch of new health care products and technologies, said last month that it has established the deal with Lowell-based Min-Bio to make a new trauma surgery waste basin known as the Angel Ortho Basin.
Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Brent Mulder, senior director at SHI, said that the innovation group has a number of ideas coming through the office, since it serves the entire Spectrum Health system, and its goal is to bring the ideas to life.
“We are not going to be the medical device manufacturer,” Mulder said. “The goal is, can we license this out? Can we find motivated entrepreneurs to run with these ideas?”
Based on Min-Bio’s focus on ergonomic bio-waste solutions within the medical device industry and Chief Executive Officer Louis Weijers’ background, Mulder said it seemed like a natural fit to partner with Min-Bio when SHI began discussing the project.
“Our paths crossed maybe about a year ago, and I was really impressed," Mulder said. "He has that entrepreneurial spirit. He has a great background in commercializing medical devices."
Weijers said he believes market acceptance depends on having the recyclable polypropylene device in the hands of key decision makers who will appreciate the device’s distinct design.
“The Angel Ortho Basin is an excellent example of a relatively simple design change that can vastly improve an existing product type," Weijers said. "There is an enormous potential market for this type of device. Our goal is not to establish a huge manufacturing concern, but to get this product up and running, so someone will pick it up who has the ability to do it large scale.”
Trauma surgery basins are routinely used in operating rooms, emergency departments and urgent care facilities to capture organic waste material, bodily fluids and tissue during irrigation and debridement of wounds.
Historically designed as a seven quart, round, hard plastic basin, the re-designed Angel Ortho Basin is intended to improve quality, effectiveness and comfort for patients.
Angel Dominguez, Spectrum Health surgical technician and designer, said the existing designs often cause patients’ arms or legs to hyperextend during irrigation or debridement procedures and raised the potential for blood vessels and nerve bundles to constrict. Traditional basins also do not protect surgical teams from back splash.
“I saw how ineffective it was at protecting the patient and staff, and I started thinking about a solution like cutting out a portion of the basin’s rim,” Dominguez said. “I started experimenting and cutting up the rims of basins and padding them with towels to better protect the patient. It’s amazing how a good idea can actually be so simple.”
The Angel Ortho Basin is named after Dominguez, who worked with the team at SHI to bring his innovative concept into development.
“Angel had been working in this area for quite a while, and he recognized the deficiency in the existing basins or tubs that were being used," Mulder said. "Some of it was ergonomic issues — as far as with the design of the existing products were sub-optimal for patients as far as their comfort level and the quality as well.
"We work with a number of our clinicians and staff members throughout the system and we have some really great ideas, and what I love about this one is the simplicity and design.”