09/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Extremely Affordable Healthcare: $25 Incubator

No offense to the medical device manufacturers, but I wonder if $20,000 preemie incubators aren't the equivalent of those mythical $500 hammers purchased by the Department of Defense.

Consider what happened when a bunch of Stanford d. school students looked at the needs of premature newborns in developing countries like Nepal. Applying a principle of "extreme affordability," the students created a $25 incubator that does the trick. George Kembel, head of the Stanford d. school, calls the ingenuous device a $19,975 cost-savings.

The implications here are obvious. A big part of healthcare reform means cost-savings. And rather than simply looking to control treatments or reduce payments to physicians, the medical-industrial complex itself should be carefully scrutinized. In some cases, big ticket, high tech machines may not be the way to go. Imagine how different the hospitals of tomorrow would look, and how much cheaper they might be, in the hands of Kembel's students.

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