Dr. Eric Alcouloumre has been practicing emergency medicine for 35 years. As a resident training in LA County hospital in the 1980s, he was amazed by the lack of attention given to sharps safety in the era of blood borne diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV. He was inspired to create a solution after watching this problem persist for too long.
Dr. Alcouloumre started work with two colleagues to create a sharps management solution designed to reduce the risk of injury from syringes, scalpels and suture needles at the point of care. They had created a prototype and started patent prosecution before approaching Innovation Lab. We confirmed the clinical/market need and refined the design to reduce manufacturing cost and optimize product fit into suture kits and procedure workflows. The new design preserves the intent of the original design and adds functionality guided by user feedback gathered during design research.
Issued and pending patents and pending applications (US 8,118,163; US 9,339,266; US 15/191,218; US 15/147,166) cover different design concepts. We are currently exploring a small usability study within our member system network to evaluate SharpShell’s integration into the clinical care path.
Having received his medical training at a time when HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood borne diseases were at the forefront of society’s attention, Dr. Alcouloumre was determined to protect himself and his colleagues from unnecessary injury resulting from exposed sharps in the clinical care setting. He knew that a solution needed to be simple, elegant and cheap, while not interfering with the clinician’s ability to safely and efficiently perform the procedure. When he looked for a solution already on the market he was surprised and disappointed to find that no existing solution providing effective sharps protection before, during and after a procedure. Many accomplished one or more of these functions, but not one was found to do all three for both syringe and suture needles. Dr. Alcouloumre was determined to create a better solution and approached the Innovation Lab to partner with him and his colleagues.
An estimated nine million suture procedures are performed each year in the United States. Most hospitals purchase extra suture kits for stocking purposes yielding a total suture kit market of over ten million units. The go-to-market approach we are taking with this product is to license the IP to a suture kit manufacturer to include in each kit sold. Projected net proceeds for SharpShell are $0.5-1M (10-year) and $3-4M (lifetime).
About the Innovator
Dr. Eric Alcouloumre is an emergency medicine physician in Newport Beach, California and is affiliated with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and the St. Joseph Hoag Health Alliance. He received his medical degree from University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, trained in Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center where he also served on the faculty, and has been in practice for more than 35 years. He is currently on Hoag’s Hospital’s Medical Executive Committee, and is the Associate Director of Emergency Services at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach.