Hospitals in North America are looking to cut costs as revenues are in serious decline with elective surgical procedures halted due to COVID 19.

Capital expenditures at American hospitals are on hold, and most hospitals have to be creative in acquiring the equipment they need to continue to meet operational needs. This is an opportunity for forward-thinking procurement officers to look at unconventional, frugal innovations that can still meet surgical and sterilization needs at a fraction of the cost of conventional equipment.

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Surgical drills are a major expenditure, at $30,000 each and up. It takes a long time to sterilize a surgical drill after use before it can be used again, so many hospitals buy more than one. But there is a simpler and more affordable alternative that could save hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars. As elective surgeries begin to ramp back up but budgets don’t, this could be a real life-saver for hospitals.

Arbutus Medical created a sterilizable linen cover, a drill shroud, that can go over hardware drill and provide the same orthopedic surgical performance, as most high-end surgical drills. The kit includes an FDA-registered drill, two long-lasting batteries, and a waterproof cover. The design allows the user to clean the drill and replace the cover and bits for the next surgery right on the spot. There is no need to sterilize the drill for every surgery, which saves the hospital time and improves efficiency.

Our DrillCover kits are already in use in trauma hospitals, military field-hospitals, and major international hospitals around the world.orthopedic surgical performance, as most high-end surgical drills. 

Frugal innovation means delivering more value at a lower cost, and that is what Arbutus Medical's engineering team has in mind when designing orthopedic drills and saws for hospitals. In the Harvard Business Review & their book Frugal Innovation, Navi Radjou & Jaideep Prabhu defined frugal innovation as a disruptive growth strategy that aims to create significantly more business and social value while drastically reducing the use of energy, capital, and time. It is not just about doing more with less, but about doing better with less.

All of Arbutus Medical products are the result of ingenious approaches to design on budget. We are all about frugal innovation and bringing safe surgical tools to market at significantly reduced costs.             

I also see frugal innovation as a key tool to battle ever-rising health care costs for the benefit of patients. As Director, Engineering my goal is to design affordable medical devices without reducing the quality of care.

Considering products like Arbutus Medical’s DrillCover kits could allow hospitals to move forward with orthopedic surgeries without overburdening their tightened budgets.

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