by Aya Caldwell, Anna Young, Jose Gomez-Marquez, and Kristian R. Olson
As published in IEEE Pulse August 2011
As global health development assistance has tripled in the last decade, policymakers are recognizing the need for accessible health technologies aimed at low and middle income countries (LMICs) [1, 2]. Developing these technologies is not simple . It requires a delicate departure from top-down, sophisticated engineering towards user-enabled designs that are elegant, simple, and field tested and tailored. In this scenario, the stakes are higher, technologies must succeed with a unique set of design challenges and address a higher burden of global illness. To ensure these technologies aligned with ususer’s needs, co-development with innovators in LMICs and multiple iterations with their feedback are needed for ultimate translation to practical use.
Boston has emerged as a cluster of biomedical innovation for global health. The area’s leading academic institutions in medicine and engineering have coupled their collaborations across the globe, to create design and invention spaces for impact-driven research in global health. In this rich environment, now is the time for Global Health Technology 2.0. We define Global Health Technology 2.0 as the practical applications of science that are effective and sustainable in their intended care delivery settings. Here, technology stands as an independent determinant of global health rather than an aspect of policy that gets folded in as systems mature. In our work towards this new model of technologies in health, we outline a new way of doing research and development. The practice of Global Health Technology 2.0 equally balances attributes of Collaborative Research, Co-creation, and User-driven insight to drive the invention of innovative projects.