D-Rev
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D-Rev

D-Rev designs and delivers affordable, innovative medical technologies that protect and transform the lives of the global poor. They recognize that health is a prerequisite to autonomy and self-sufficiency, and strive to address global health inequities.

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First product launched
2013
700K
patients treated
90K
jaundice deaths/disabilities averted
349
amputees fit
Devices sold in
71
countries

The problem: lack of access to high-quality, affordable medical devices

When hospitals and clinicians serving the world’s poor can’t treat their patients with the right equipment, the result is enduring illness, suffering, mortality, and an ever-spiraling trap of poverty.

Take jaundice, one of D-Rev’s focus areas. Jaundice is caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood. In high-income countries, newborn jaundice is easily treated with phototherapy and rarely leads to kernicterus — a type of preventable brain damage which can occur if severe jaundice goes untreated.

In low- and middle-income countries, however, kernicterus ranks as the seventh leading cause of mortality in newborns. [1] According to an assessment by Stanford University and D-Rev, over, six million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment. [2] This is because effective phototherapy machines are not nearly as accessible, partly due to costs upwards of US$3,000.

 

Over six million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment.
Swaddled baby with nose prongs

The solution: designing and delivering cost-effective medical products and technologies to health providers and patients

This requires a real, on-the-ground assessment of the needs of emerging markets to support health, productivity, and independence — and then taking action.

D-Rev’s flagship product, Brilliance, is a high-quality, low-cost phototherapy lamp that uses LED bulbs which do not need replacing. [3] D-Rev first learned about the need for affordable, quality phototherapy from an Indian doctor who saw babies suffering brain damage and dying from jaundice. It was a problem no one was tackling in a meaningful way. D-Rev went on to discover many pediatricians and neonatologists ranked this in their top 3-5 needs, and worked to close the gap.

Man sketching D-Rev's Brilliance machine

In 2016, Brilliance was named the “best health innovation to benefit humanity” by the Tech Museum as part of their 15-year retrospective of the social sector.

How D-Rev works

D-Rev is a unique portfolio non-profit medical device company. Their work covers the full medical device development process, from identification of need through design and scaled delivery, then measurement of impact and effectiveness, and continual improvement. Donations to D-Rev fund their research and development process.

This approach allows D-Rev to scale via the market, rather than rely exclusively on donations to drive their work. D-Rev currently has studies planned or underway in Rwanda, Nepal, and in several states in India.

What makes D-Rev so effective


Cost-effectiveness

D-Rev’s work designing and launching products is done on a modest budget of under US$2 million, with a lean staff of 20. Their Brilliance lamp costs US$400–$500, compared to traditional phototherapy devices which cost anywhere from US$1,500–$10,000.

Monitoring and evaluation

An audit from one of our charity evaluators, ImpactMatters, found that D-Rev has an exceptional research and development process, noting that, “Decisions to implement changes were supported by high-quality data and were arrived at systematically.” [4]

Proven impact

The ImpactMatters audit found “strong clinical evidence” that D-Rev’s phototherapy device improves respective medical outcomes. D-Rev’s website includes a regularly updated Impact Dashboard that documents the results across both their newborn and mobility focus areas.

Economic influence

Prices on similar quality phototherapy devices have decreased in markets where D-Rev has a presence. Their designs often serve as models for others working in global health innovation.

Scalability

Large government purchases of the Brilliance device make East African countries D-Rev’s second-largest market after India. In 2018, every public referral hospital with a NICU in Rwanda was outfitted with the Brilliance device through a partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and Paediatric Association. 

D-Rev’s accountability and sustainability

D-Rev values accountability and transparency. They requested a rigorous audit by ImpactMatters, receiving high marks in Evidence and Monitoring, and excellent marks in Learning. Their website includes their algorithms for estimating impact as well as regularly-updated impact dashboards. [5] [6]

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, D-Rev plans to expand its portfolio to a total of 10 products in maternal, newborn, and child health by 2030. While D-Rev’s products are sold for a profit (which is then reinvested in research and development), they prioritize impact and sustainable scaling over revenue. De-Rev aims to exit projects once they believe scaling is sustainably on-track to close the global health inequity, which they generally expect to be 5–7 years after product launch. ReMotion, a prosthetic limb for above-the-knee amputees, is one of those success stories.

Recognition for D-Rev

D-Rev’s partners include Stanford University School of Medicine, USAID, UKaid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2016, they was named laureate in the Health category of The Tech Awards, where the Silicon Valley-based Tech Museum recognized D-Rev as the “best of the best” for the benefit its technology brings to Humanity. [7] They were also named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2013 and recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. [8]

Frequently Asked Questions

How will D-Rev use my donation?

D-Rev uses donor dollars for product research and development, and impact assessment. Supporting this type of early-stage product development work means your impact per dollar is especially meaningful. You are helping to assess real-world needs articulated by frontline doctors, nurses, and health administrations, and then create real-world solutions.

Why doesn’t my donation pay for the devices themselves?

D-Rev’s model allows market need and assessment to drive its work, rather than donor dollars supporting products that may not end up effective in their design or in addressing healthcare gaps. That said, if a donor has a particular interest in subsidizing device costs for a particular project, they are welcome to contact D-Rev to discuss possible options.

What are the next devices in the D-Rev pipeline?

D-Rev focuses on preventable death and disability for mothers, newborns, and children. The two new devices currently in development address newborn respiratory support and newborn nutrition.

How does D-Rev assess which devices to create and market?

D-Rev uses the Global Burden of Disease database to find which disease areas most affect the poor, then does extensive research with target users (doctors, nurses, key opinion leaders, policy makers, etc.) to understand their priorities and their complaints. [9]

How long do D-Rev devices last?

The Brilliance device can last for 20 years.

Why does The Life You Can Save recommend D-Rev?

We recommend D-Rev because they successfully passed a rigorous Impact Audit conducted by Impact Matters, one of our charity evaluators.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

D-Rev has 501(c)(3) status in the United States, and is tax-deductible for eligible donors via The Life You Can Save

Eligible UK donors can claim Gift Aid by donating to D-Rev through The Life You Can Save UK.

Donors from Australia can claim applicable tax advantages by giving through The Life You Can Save Australia.


Sources

All photos and videos courtesy of D-Rev.

[1] The Lancet, Neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia: a global perspective 

[2] D-Rev and Stanford University, Global Burden and Unmet Need for Hyperbilirubinaemia Treatment

[3] D-Rev website

[4] Impact Matters, 2013–2015 D-Rev Impact Audit

[5] D-Rev, Step-by-step: How D-Rev Calculates the Impact of Brilliance

[6] D-Rev, Impact Dashboard

[7] The Tech Interactive, Tech Awards 2016 Laureates

[8] Fast Company, Most Innovative Companies 2013

[9] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease home