Medical School Student's Invention Receives International Recognition
Being a doctor is not enough for Jang Ji-ho
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The International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) is one of the largest and most widely anticipated award programs where thousands of entries from various categories are submitted by designers and corporations across the globe every year. In the 2019 IDEA, it was announced on September 11th that Jang Ji-ho (College of Medicine, 2nd year) was a finalist in the product design category for designing an Active Intravenous Therapy (IV) Bag with an Internet of Things (IOT) Flow Detector.
In the event, Jang designed a low-cost alternative to IV bags. Intravenous infusions, commonly referred to as drips, is a therapy that delivers fluids into a vein. During treatments, which could go on for a few days or even years, patients need to be constantly supplied with liquids to receive nutrients and would drag around metal hangers with IV bags in hospitals. Compared to regular metal hangers, Jang’s wearable IV bag is shaped like a hat, which ensures a patient's mobility. Jang’s design also includes an inexpensive Flow Detector that measures the flow of the IV drip, preventing its blockage and can be used to monitor IVs in real time.
“In the United States, there is a device that is used by making direct contact with patients, which costs tens of millions of won ($8,354), but mine can be made for a few 10,000 won,” said Jang. “It works by measuring the changes in the refractive index of the drip.” Jang’s invention was also recognized by the 2019 James Dyson Award, an international design award that was hosted in 27 countries around the world and run by the James Dyson Foundation.
This was not Jang’s first time creating innovative products. In 2017, he created a subscription platform that offers personalized vitamin supplement recommendations through analyzing data from regular medical checkups. Jang said he thought that the great data accumulated from these checkups could amount to more, instead of ending with obvious advice like “stop smoking.”
Jang said he was interested in medical policies when he was studying to go to medical school. However, later on, he realized that medical policies go hand in hand with politics and, thus, require “smarter people.” Jang soon thought that he could make a real change in the field, instead of going up the ladder as a medical specialist or politician and create policies from the top-bottom. One way to achieve this was by creating things in the market, which led to him devising and planning for new medical products and services. Jang’s entrepreneurial spirit comes from a broad range of hobbies and interests. Although he should be focusing on his medical studies, Jang confessed that he enjoys a bit of light reading.
“What I do in my free time is going to the medical college study room and reading analyst reports,” said Jang. “It is something that I really like. When I am reading these reports, I find a lot of things that I want to invest in.” Jang’s talents do not fall far from the tree. His father is a professor of engineering and his mother runs a business. Jang said both parents support his decision to pursue business and a medical career at the same time. He added that his business decisions and insights come from his mother.
Jang also periodically appears on Medical TV, a YouTube channel that features medical students, to give advice to future medical students and answers questions by viewers. Not only does Jang offer insight into the lives of medical students to viewers, but he also donates all of his earnings from the channel to the Hanyang University Medical Center. He said that this was sort of giving back to others as he would also watch videos featuring his medical idols during his studies to get motivation.
Jang shared that one person who led Jang to where he is today is Dr. Lee Gook-jong, the renowned head surgeon of a trauma center. “Although my path is slightly different than his, I believe that our hearts are in the same place: the will to innovate medical treatment for patients,” said Jang. “When I was in high school, I would watch videos about him and tear up as I studied. I would study with my eyes swollen. My goal is to work beside him or converse with him, sharing our insights if my company becomes bigger or our service is expanded or if I become a successful doctor.”
These days, Jang is about to launch a startup for a pharmaceutical platform with two other friends. Even with his extremely tightly packed schedule, Jang is not the type to back down.
Jung Myung-suk firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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