Women Are Reinventing the Long-Despised Speculum

What do Apple computers and speculums have in common?


Not the amphibian, but the design company. Frog Design had a hand in the iconic design of the original Apple computer and has been working on a redesign of the ancient speculum used in gynecological exams.

The new design holds some resemblance to the 170 year old model but is different in many critical ways. To start with, it’s made of “surgical-grade silicone for a quieter device that doesn’t feel as unnatural in the body as plastic or as cold as metal.” It is able to be used with one hand and different angles allow for greater comfort and function.

Developed into the Yona project, the entire experience has been addressed.

The Yona concept, informed by both patients and providers, considers the end-to-end exam experience by focusing on a redesigned speculum, a digital experience, and physical exam room improvements.((https://yonacare.com))

An app guides women through the process and is designed to assist them in getting questions answered and sorting thro

Summary from The Atlantic..
Women Are Reinventing the Long-Despised Speculum

In 1845, James Marion Sims, a 32-year-old surgeon in Montgomery, Alabama, was asked by a local slave owner to treat a young woman suffering from vesicovaginal fistula. … Sims, a plantation doctor, lacked relevant experience, but took an interest in finding a cure. Between 1845 and 1849, he performed dozens of surgeries, without anesthesia, on at least 12 enslaved women. In these experiments on human chattel, Sims developed a technique to repair fistula, the first of its kind. In the process, he invented the duckbill speculum so that he could better visualize the cervix. …

In San Francisco, four women at the design firm Frog hope to revisit the speculum Sims created 170 years ago. Their design, known as Yona, grew out of a conversation between women designers about the flaws of the pelvic exam. From a product standpoint, the exam’s audio cues only ratchet up discomfort and anxiety. The patient, lying with feet in stirrups and unable to see what’s happening, hears the jarring sounds of jingling metal and the tightening of the screw. “You actually have open screws on this instrument,” Hailey Stewart, one of Frog’s industrial designers, told me. “You hear them as they’re opening you up.” …


Photo from YonaCare and The Atlantic 



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