Core77 Design Awards
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Transforming Delivery of Gynecological Care
The Nella VuSleeve and VuLight are the first products in a line by Ceek Women's Health, a women-led medical device company, that reimagines tools used during gynecological exams.
Ceek was born out of founder and CEO Fahti Khosrow's personal experience going through three years of infertility treatment. Realizing that many of the devices used in gynecological care are antiquated, some more than a century old, Fahti started the company to modernize the tools used, and to help women receive the care they deserve.
Both VuSleeve and VuLight are innovative devices that can be used with most vaginal specula to help improve clinician quality of care and patient comfort during exams and procedures.
Ceek collaborated with Evolve, a human centered design agency, to explore and define the user experience from both the patient and clinician perspective and uncover opportunities often overlooked by current medical device companies.
The Nella VuSleeve is an easy-to-apply clear sheath that retains and protects vaginal sidewalls during gynecological exams and procedures. The VuLight is an LED illuminator that delivers optimal visibility to the vaginal canal and cervix for clinicians.
Both products are the first of their kind, giving clinicians the opportunity to modify an existing speculum to better address the specific needs of their patient. By using the VuSleeve and VuLight, the paradigm of gynecological care changes-- clinicians can perform gynecological procedures more quickly and more accurately without compromising patient comfort.
The VuSleeve was inspired by clinician workarounds the Ceek team observed. They would cut the tip off of a condom or cut an exam glove finger and slide it onto a speculum to help retain vaginal sidewall tissue during an exam or procedure. Visibility and cervical access are necessary for gynecological care, but for many reasons there can be excess vaginal tissue and sidewall laxity that interfere with this—due to high BMI, vaginal prolapse, multiple vaginal births, etc. Despite these common issues, this workaround was not used very often as most clinicians found it inefficient, ineffective and unprofessional from a both a clinician and patient perspective.
Another approach clinicians use is to "size up" and use a larger or longer speculum in order to retain more sidewall tissue. While this can help, it can be extremely uncomfortable for the patient when a larger speculum is used.
The team's goal for the VuSleeve was to create a device that easily increases a clinician's visibility and access to the cervix and fits their workflow while improving patient comfort.
The result is a first-in-class tissue retraction sheath that keeps excess vaginal tissue away from the view of the cervix, protects vaginal sidewalls and minimizes the risk of pinching. In terms of patient comfort, it allows a smaller, more comfortable speculum to retract more tissue and shields patients from the discomfort of a cold metal speculum. Most importantly, it supports adequate cell sampling in women with elevated BMI, which may improve the ability to diagnose cervical precancer. The simple to use paper applicator ensures the VuSleeve fits into a provider's workflow, enabling all of these benefits.
The VuSleeve is a simple yet elegant solution that can have a huge impact on the quality of care women receive during gynecological exams.
The most common lighting source in gynecological exam rooms is the adjustable gooseneck lamp, intended to shine light over the shoulder of the provider and into the vaginal canal. Because of their typical placement and design, these can be difficult and time-consuming to properly adjust due to patient movement and exam/procedure needs, especially without risk of cross contamination.
From the start of the design exploration, the Ceek and Evolve team focused on finding a minimal solution that can clip directly onto any vaginal speculum. The result is a single-use, universal LED illuminator that brings light directly to the cervix, with truer tissue color rendition compared to typical overhead or gooseneck lights. By placing the light source directly under the upper bill, the risk of light blockage from tools, blood or fluid is reduced, while allowing maximum accessibility and visibility for clinicians.
The VuLight illuminates through the vaginal canal directly to the cervix without any adjustment, a clear advantage over the typical adjustment needed with a gooseneck light.
Both VuSleeve and VuLight help clinicians perform more effective exams and procedures, which can mean shorter, more comfortable experiences for patients. Increased options for clinicians mean better health outcomes for all women—a result that Ceek is proud to enable.
When exhibiting at industry conferences, Ceek has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the midwife and OBGYN community, eager to see innovation in the long-neglected space. Clinicians acknowledge the importance of combined benefits—improvements for providers paired with increased patient comfort and the potential for improved healthcare outcomes.
The Nella VuSleeve is currently available on the market and VuLight is available for pre-order.
Below are quotes from providers and advisors who have purchased or tested the devices.
"Innovation in pelvic exam tools that help facilitate a more comfortable and effective exam is greatly needed. The Nella VuSleeve and VuLight provide improved visualization and access to the cervix while making it a better experience for the patient. The VuLight is invaluable for all procedures where there is not adequate lighting."
- Liberato Mukul, MD, Director of Gynecology, Women's Healthcare Associates, Portland, OR
"Women's bodies change over time depending on their life stage. Current medical devices are antiquated and do not support the exam needs for all patients. I support the development and coverage of innovative devices that make the pelvic examination and testing more comfortable, efficient and effective. This will improve the patient experience and quality of care."
- Ann E. Miller, MD, Women's Health Alliance Chapel Hill, NC
"VuSleeve just saved me during an office procedure for hysteroscopy this AM!"
- Dan McDyer, MD, President of OBGYN Society in Jacksonville, FL
"With each patient in the Violet Study (Ceek's clinical study), the VuSleeve retracted sidewall tissue and helped keep procedures on-time. My staff continues to ask for this product, even after the study concluded."
- Spencer Kellogg, MD, Violet Study Principal Investigator, Baptist Hospital, Miami, FL
"Providers should have the opportunity to use a better technology when one is available. It would allow for a better speculum exam experience! Over a decade ago I trained at Yale University to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and at that time I dreamed of a better way. One now exists and it is important that the women and families I serve have access to the best technology available for a safe, comfortable, and more efficient exam."
- Jessica Densmore, Certified Nurse Midwife
Ceek's Nella line is set to expand, including revolutionary solutions for both reusable and disposable specula.