March 21, 2019

Groninger invention: portable infusion pump should replace rolling coat racks.

Employees of the University of Groningen (RUG) have developed a portable infusion device that is intended to replace the “rolling coat racks” used in hospitals. The portable infusion device will be brought to market by the Groningen-based start-up IV Wear, according to the website of Northern Knowledge. This is an organization that aims to use knowledge from the RUG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences for innovation and to strengthen the northern economy.

According to the inventors, the traditional infusion pole is bad for patients’ self-confidence. The infusion, developed in Groningen and about the size of a lunchbox, is less noticeable and can be carried in various ways in a bag.

Infusion poles are currently a common sight for anyone who has ever walked into a hospital. But can’t things be done differently? The Groningen startup IV Wear certainly thinks so. Out with the awkward pole, and in with the portable infusion.

IV Wear is a story of perseverance, spotting opportunities, and coincidences. Melcher Frankema, a private law student, was at the beginning of the startup, along with doctor Maximilian Heintzen and biomedical technologist Niels Weijermans. Frankema says, “Alongside my studies, I took an entrepreneurship course at the Centre of Entrepreneurship of the University of Groningen. Just to see if it was something for me. There, Professor Bart Verkerke showed a picture of an infusion bag attached to an arm instead of a pole. The idea stuck with me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided to call the professor, and he told me that he had just spoken to Maximilian about it. He felt the same way during the course.”

And so, a team was formed with a lawyer and a doctor. Verkerke realized that someone with technical knowledge needed to be added to the team. That person became Niels Weijermans, who was willing to write his thesis on the portable infusion.

Formaatje broodtrommel

Frankema: “That’s how we started developing. Niels focused on the technology, Maximilian gathered information from the medical world. I searched for what already exists in this field in the world, and what the opportunities for our company could be. One of the important things we discovered is that a traditional IV pole is very bad for patients’ self-confidence. With such a pole, you immediately get the label that you are very sick.”

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