Make a Difference TodayDonate to D-Rev
Make a Difference TodayDonate to D-Rev

D-Rev

D-Rev (short for “Design Revolution”) designs and delivers affordable, innovative medical devices that protect and transform lives of the global poor. The organization addresses global health inequities, recognizing that health is a prerequisite to autonomy and self-sufficiency.

D-Rev's current product, Brilliance, is a highly affordable, contextually appropriate, phototherapy machine for treating jaundice in newborns. The company plans to expand its portfolio to a total of 10 products in maternal, newborn and child health by 2030.

The Problem

Lack of access to high-quality, affordable medical devices for hospitals and clinicians serving the world’s poor results in illness, suffering, mortality and an ever-spiraling trap of poverty.

Severe jaundice is the specific problem on which D-Rev currently focuses. In industrialized countries, newborn jaundice (caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood) is easily treated with phototherapy (a specialized intense LED blue light) and therefore rarely leads to kernicterus—a type of preventable brain damage which can occur if jaundice goes untreated. In developing countries however, effective LED phototherapy machines are not nearly as accessible, partly due to costs upwards of US$3,000. In developing countries, kernicterus ranks as the fifth leading cause of mortality in newborns. Over 6 million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment, according to an assessment by Stanford and D-Rev.

The Solution

Assessing real “on the ground” needs and gaps for medical devices, then designing and delivering high quality, low-cost products that are easily accessed by medical providers and patients results supports health, productivity and independence.

D-Rev’s Brilliance phototherapy lamp is a high-quality, low-cost device that uses LED bulbs which rarely need replacing. 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 is different from other charities

D-Rev's model is unique in that it is a portfolio nonprofit medical device company. Their work covers the medical device process from identification of need to design to scaled delivery, measurement of impact and effectiveness, and continual improvement based on findings. Donations cover research and development, while profit is made by distributors so they are incentivized to sell the products. This approach allows D-Rev to leverage and scale via the market, rather than being reliant on donations to drive their work. Because they are involved in selling their products, they are accountable to purchasers and users in designing the most appropriate products. 

D-Rev's effectiveness

Cost-effectivenessness

An assessment by rigorous charity evaluator ImpactMatters found D-Rev’s cost-effectiveness to be US$26 per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) as an organization and US$580/DALY for all stakeholders. ImpactMatters says D-Rev’s Brilliance device, “is a cost-effective component of inpatient medical care, offering meaningful savings vis-à-vis commercially available devices.” The Brilliance phototherapy lamp is a high-quality costs US$400-US$500, whereas...

The D-Rev model has also helped drive down the cost of more expensive brands.

D-REV's work designing and launching products is done on a very modest budget of under US$2 million, with a lean 11-member staff.

Monitoring and evaluation

The ImpactMatters audit 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.” D-Rev currently has studies planned or underway in Rwanda, Nepal and in several states in India. D-Rev disseminates its knowledge and learning as an important part of its goal of contributing to closing healthcare gaps.

Proven Impact and Scale

The ImpactMatters audit found “strong clinical evidence” that D-Rev’s phototherapy device improves respective medical outcomes and the organization’s website includes a regularly-updated Impact Dashboard.

Since D-Rev’s first product came on the market in 2013, over 700,0000 patients in 71countries have been treated with their devices. It is estimated that over 600,000 babies have been treated with the Briliance machine who would not have otherwise had access to effective treatment. D-Rev estimates this translates to 9,0000 DALYs (deaths and disabilities averted). 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.

D-Rev’s largest presence is in India, where their devices were adopted early on, and Brilliance is now scaling in other countries. East Africa is their second largest market and Brilliance is gaining traction there with large government purchases. By the end of 2018, for example, every hospital with a NICU in Rwanda was outfitted with the Brilliance device through a partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Paediatric Association.

D-Rev also has important indirect impact. Prices on similar products have been seen to come down in markets that D-Rev has entered, and the organization’s designs serve as models for others. 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. They aim 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.

D-Rev’s accountability and sustainability

D-Rev was named laureate in the Health category of The Tech Awards 2016, where the Silicon Valley-based Tech Museum recognized the organization as the “best of the best” for the benefit its technology brings to Humanity. It was also named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2013. Its partners include Stanford School of Medicine, USAID, UKaid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

D-Rev puts high value on 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.

Because D-Rev is involved in selling their products, they are accountable to purchasers and users in designing the most appropriate products.

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 a donor’s impact per dollar is especially high and meaningful. You are helping to assess real-world needs and create real-world solutions.

Why does my donation not pay for the devices themselves?

D-Rev’s model is to allow market need and assessment to drive its work, rather than donor dollars supporting products that may not actually be 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 is developing solutions that target nutrition, respiratory distress, and other critical health areas that result in preventable death and disability for mothers, newborns and children. The two new devices currently being developed address newborn respiratory support and newborn nutrition.

How does DREV assess which devices to create and market?

To select the disease areas in which to work, D-Rev uses the Global Burden of Disease database to highlight areas that most affect the poor, then does extensive research with target users (doctors, nurses, key opinion leaders, policy makers, etc.) to understand their priorities. With Brilliance, they were first alerted to the need for affordable quality phototherapy by an Indian doctor who saw babies suffering brain damage and dying from jaundice, which no one was tackling it in a meaningful way. D-Rev’s research found a gap in healthcare, with many pediatricians and neonatologists ranking this in their top 3-5 needs.

How long do the 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.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

D-Rev has 501(c)(3) status in the United States, and is tax-deductible for eligible donors. Eligible UK donors can claim Gift Aid by donating to D-Rev through The Life You Can Save UK here. Donors from Australia can claim applicable tax advantages by giving through The Life You Can Save Australia’s D-Rev page.

What will your impact be?

Find out using our Impact Calculator.

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