Equalize health identifies the biggest gaps and opportunities for tech in health care; designs affordable medical products for any circumstance; and partners with global and local actors to ensure products get where needed.
Their first product, Brilliance Pro, came from an investigation into under-treatment of jaundice in low-resourced areas. While newborn treatment is straightforward, a dose of phototherapy under blue light, 95% of all phototherapy devices evaluated in India and Nigeria did not meet American Academy of Pediatrics standards, often due to power failures or burned-out bulbs.
The solution was simple: a lamp with LEDs instead of fluorescents, eliminating the broken bulb problem and lasting sixty times longer for half the power of fluorescent bulbs. Since power is inconsistent in developing environments, Equalize Health designed Brilliance to be run off of a car battery for up to eight hours in the event of outages. Brilliance has now treated over 1.5 million babies in more than 65 countries.
The $80 US ReMotion Knee addresses the cost of fitting and maintaining prosthetic limbs. Not only are prosthetics expensive, but they also need frequent adjustment and can rust and swell, exacerbating the need for ongoing maintenance. The ReMotion Knee was conceived to be as simple and flexible as a natural knee, with minimum parts and using a single hinge so that it swings naturally.
In 2019, Equalize Health expanded ReMotion to ROMP (Range of Motion Project) so they could focus on addressing the health inequities impacting maternal and newborn health. They have used their expertise to address the leading causes of maternal and premature newborn death globally: postpartum hemorrhage and newborn respiratory distress.
To ensure its products are broadly available at sustainable market terms, Equalize Health utilizes partnerships with distributors. Distribution agreements are structured so that for-profit distributors receive higher margins when they sell to hospitals with greater need. The distributors are free to sell to high-end hospitals too, granting Equalize Health a larger percentage.
Recently, Equalize Health has started “Equalize Health 2030.” They partner with local healthcare workers and innovators to codesign health solutions, applying expertise in user-centered design, strategy, marketing and ecosystem building to scale them for global impact. Ultimately, they aim to accelerate the historically slow product development process to reach patients faster and save lives.
We had a chance to catch up with Equalize Health (then D-Rev) CEO Krista Donaldson about all the new directions at the organisation, as well as the future of technology in the social design movement. Have a listen.