Our Work

POCkeT Colposcope: Increased Distribution and Adoption


2016-07-01 13:26:15 - 2017-12-15 13:26:15

Project Objectives

Cervical cancer affects 500,000 women worldwide each year, resulting in more than 270,000 deaths annually. The majority of cases occur in low-income countries that cannot afford the tools commonly used in the United States. To address this challenge, researchers at Duke's Global Women's Health Technologies Center have developed the POCkeT (Point of Care Tampon) Colposcope to screen for cervical cancer. It has similar clinical performance to the existing standard of care Colposcope, but has lower capital and maintenance costs ($250 compared to $20,000) and increased portability. We are seeking approvals to introduce the POCkeT Colposcope into Peru and East Africa where we currently have regulatory approval but require market approval.

In this project, we will use an innovative approach to identify the best strategy for adoption of the POCkeT Colposcope in a country-specific setting. The value chain analysis (VCA) framework uses a holistic, system%u2010based approach to map the ecosystem of activities and actors involved in a given development project. We expect to identify actions that will maximize adoption of the POCkeT Colposcope in Peru.

This will be accomplished through stakeholder analysis and examination of the policy environment in Peru, as well as through comparative case studies of other technology introductions there. Although this work will yield information specific to Peru, cervical cancer is a social issue relevant across the globe. We therefore anticipate that several lessons will generalize to help guide future launches in other countries, particularly those in East Africa.

Project Opportunities

The team will map the stakeholders involved in the implementation of the POCkeT Colposcope in Peru and conduct the VCA in collaboration with La Liga Contra el Cancer in Lima. Our efforts will enumerate crucial leverage points where specific actions can help increase the likelihood of adoption of the POCkeT Colposcope in Peru.

Students will learn how to perform a value chain analysis and articulate how it is applied to emerging technologies in healthcare, and be able to discuss the social, political and cultural factors that shape the launch and adoption of new technologies across settings in general, and in Peru specifically. Through the international fieldwork, participants will be able to list strategies for building cross%u2010cultural partnerships, navigating systems and conducting research in low%u2010income medical settings.Team members will gain exposure to developing technologies with input from patients and multiple stakeholders, including refinement of the POCkeT colposcope, mobile health software, electronic medical record keeping and smart diagnostic algorithms. They will learn about the intersection between engineering and medicine, the regulatory approval processes and product design and development through our industry partners, 3rd Stone Design and Zenalux Biomedical. Students will also learn about private sector technology manufacturing and marketing through our collaboration with Philips. They will experience local%u2010global comparisons and connections; we have an ongoing IRB-approved clinical study to test the POCkeT Colposcope in patients undergoing cervical cancer screening at DUMC, and participants can be involved in this Durham-based research as well as the Peruvian research. We will compare and contrast the two sites during team meetings.

Team members will submit mid-year written report of the progress to date and a research plan. They will write a formal report, share it with implementing partners, lead a discussion on the report with partners, refine their recommendations and produce a final report.

Applicants should have an interest in global health. Students with backgrounds in business, engineering, global health, medicine, public policy, sociology, women's studies, Spanish studies, psychology and/or public health are especially encouraged to apply.

There are two useful courses associated with this project, BME 290 and BME 551. BME 290, The Intersection of Technologies and Women's Health, is offered in the Spring. BME 551, Optical Spectroscopy Tissue Optics, is offered in the Fall.

Project Application Process

All interested students must complete the Bass Central Application process, located here: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/content/common-application. When you have completed that process, please send an email to Lysa.mackeen@duke.edu with the title of the project and "application completed" in the subject line.

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