Anna Young will be speaking at WIRED Health 2016 on 29 April in London. From helping humans to live longer to understanding the brain, WIRED Health will hear from the innovators transforming this critical sector.
Nurses have been at the forefront of healthcare innovation for hundreds of years, but they need help. Anna Young is working to speed up that process with MakerNurse and MakerHealth, a pair of projects which are giving healthcare professionals the tools to quickly and cheaply improve patient care.
Young, who will be speaking at WIRED Health 2016, began her career building solar-powered sterilisation tools for use in developing countries. "I was always intrigued by medical devices and inspired by the role of healthcare providers," she explains. "I knew I could never be a doctor or nurse but wanted to just really be a part of 'how do we make that system work better?'".
Her 'Solarclave', which came out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Little Devices group, is made out of a bucket, a pressure cooker and a handful of pocket-sized mirrors. Despite its Macgyver-like appearance, it can sterilise medical instruments in rural clinics that may be off-grid using nothing but sunlight and locally-available materials. It's small enough to be easily transportable and can be set up by one person.
Rolling the Solarclave out across Latin America, Young says, not only taught her the fundamentals of the design process but also opened her eyes to the innovation taking place in clinics around the world. "We would find these artefacts of things that had been fabricated all across the hospitals and then once we started to ask 'Where did these come from? Who made these?', we found out that it was the nurses inside of the hospital who were creating them."