The MOWOOT medical device – a non drug, non invasive solution for chronic constipation – was created by the usMIMA startup which was originated in the Moebio’s dHEALTH BCN program, a disruptive initiative for talent development driven by Biocat and inspired by Stanford Biodesign.
The usMIMA project MOWOOT, winner of the Bio-Entrepreneur XXI 2014 Award, came to live after a two-month stay of the founding team in the neurological rehabilitation center of Institut Guttmann. This clinical immersion was part of the dHEALTH BCN program. The purpose was to detect all kinds of needs affecting both professionals and patients, or facilities, in a hospital’s everyday practice. It is the design thinking methodology applied to biomedicine: a revolutionary approach.
At the Institut Guttmann, the usMIMA team identified more than 600 of these unmet needs. They focused on the most pressing needs of those affected by spinal cord injuries – needs that impact on the lives of patients with no satisfactory solutions so far. Then, the needs were screened to determine which one they wanted to find a solution for. They carried out a methodical screening, relating the needs to the scientific studies written about them, and identified those with the greatest potential to help a higher number of patients.
Through an iterative screening process, they reduced the number of needs to 12 in a first round, and to 3 in the second one; of these, they choose the one that most motivated them. And then they discarded it. Why?
Because they tried to validate the results of the screening through interviews with patients, and the selected need was not considered a priority by them. However, most patients recognized another need among the top 3 as the one with the highest impact on their daily habits: chronic constipation, a condition they usually mitigate with solutions that are not indicated for long term use due to their side effects: drugs such as laxatives, which cause irritation in the long term, or invasive methods such as enemas, which can damage the intestinal wall. In addition, this is a problem they do not often comment, with implications for their self-esteem and social relationships.
With the information gathered, the usMIMA team discovered that there was a lot of room for innovation to solve this problem: they had scientific evidence that colon-specific abdominal massage is the only non invasive, non pharmacological solution to alleviate chronic constipation, so they verified its effectiveness and mode of application at the Guttmann Institute. Since abdominal massage should be regularly given by qualified personnel, very few people can actually enjoy this solution.
The usMIMA team devised the way to make it available to all those affected by chronic constipation: a wearable device that would reproduce colon massages given by specialists. This is how MOWOOT was born.