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D-Rev CEO: We Build Medical Devices for People who Live on Less than $4 a Day

By Christina Farr

Most medical equipment companies don’t regularly top “most innovative” lists.

But D-Rev isn’t your typical medical device maker. The San Francisco-based non-profit wants to help the world’s poorest individuals, who subsist on less than a few dollars per day. Its products include an $80 prosthetic knee and aphototherapy device to treat infants with jaundice.

What’s unique about D-Rev is its approach to research. The company sends its small team of designers into the field — whether it’s a rural village in India or a remote hospital in Uganda — to conduct interviews with patients, doctors and nurses.

During a recent conversation with a doctor based in rural India, D-Rev employees learned that many babies were dying of jaundice. The treatment devices were too expensive to maintain. The team brainstormed low-cost solutions and came up with Brilliance, a photo-therapy lamp that sells for $400, a fraction of the cost of its mainstream competitors.

KQED sat down with Krista Donaldson, the company’s chief executive, to discuss the ongoing challenges of running a medical non-profit and the opportunities for the future. Donaldson shared that D-Rev is considering a move into the U.S. market to help those in need closer to home.


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