It’s great to see that something simple, effective and really useful has won the UK leg of the international James Dyson Award – bring on the flexible room divider for use in hospitals, developed by designer Michael Korn.
KwickScreen is a portable, retractable, room divider which provides isolation or privacy solutions in hospitals when required. They have a very small footprint for easy storage and use and are simple to transport and clean. KwickScreens enable hospitals, which are often stretched for resources, to make the best use of space offering the flexibility to change a room’s layout. The product greatly helps in the fight against health care acquired infections as well as with mixed sex accommodation and general privacy and dignity problems.
KwickScreens can be printed, which adds colour and interest to wards and can be used to display important messages to staff and visitors and has applications beyond healthcare, in schools, universities, offices and exhibitions where open plan areas need to be divided up in a fast and flexible manner.
Having graduated from the Royal College of Art with a table top model of the KwickScreen, Michael spent much of the year researching hospital environments and understanding the situation. The following year, 2008, KwickScreen was selected to be part of the NHS’s smart ideas programme and in 2009 a clinical trial at UCLH with full size prototypes began. Over the next year further product developments were made, the internal mechanism was simplified and the body was changed from steel to aluminium. KwickScreen was accepted into the Design London incubator Jan 2011 and subsequently the first volume sales came in, by July the screen has been sold into 25 trusts and 4 countries.
Michael says ‘ The inspiration came whilst thinking about problems within the NHS; MRSA, lack of space, lack of privacy. No one wants to be denied their basic right to privacy and dignity when admitted to hospital. The NHS has the worst rate of healthcare associated infections in Europe. Nurses required improved isolation for infection control without the use of scarce side rooms, and patients wanted increasing privacy and dignity, therefore I sought to address these problems. I came up with the idea of bringing isolation to the patient. A retractable screen was the solution I envisaged; I sought inspiration firstly from nature. The venus fly trap and a frogs tongue, slap on bracelets and tape measures were all used during this stage until the discovery of rolatube which gave a means of scaling up my idea to full size’.
See more details of Michael’s invention and the other shortlisted projects here BBC News – Showing off UK innovation
Posted by Ann Clarke