How a queen square reflex hammer with force detection was used to help patients experience healthcare beautifully


When RFX Hammer got started, our mission was to help physicians and patients experience health beautifully. To do this, we aimed our efforts towards the following four pillars for the guidance of our product development: 

  • Create sophisticated yet simple clinical exam tools for interrogation of the human body.
  • Improve the clinician's confidence and trust in their clinical examination skills.
  • Increase accuracy, repeatability, and precision of clinical exam tools.
  • Become a respected name amongst medical experts, by way of innovation and service.

As we've progressed, we have realized that one of the easiest ways to make an impact quickly is to focus our efforts on the clinical skills of medical students training to become physicians. Our goal was two-fold. We would provide students with a device that could help them become more confident with the exam, by delivering accurate, repeatable, and precise reflex exam results, instantaneously, to the student practicing the reflex exam and we would do it in a way that would be engaging to the recipient, by delivering the results through LED lights that capture the exam recipients attention during the test.

One thing we noticed while providing RFX Hammers to students throughout medical universities was that as soon as they started playing with the RFX Hammer, a smile shortly followed their reaction of "this is cool!". This was validating, as our goal was to provide creative tools that improved the experience of using traditional clinical assessment tools. 

A key driving factor of their response was the simple addition of visual components to help deliver the results of the exam. In this case, adding LED lights that were ignited by a response from an accelerometer to the traditional Queen Square reflex hammer was our attempt at making the exam a bit more exciting to each person involved.

It is widely known that the deep tendon reflex examination can be intrusive to some of the patients experiencing it. This is especially true for children who can become anxious when a physician explains to them that they will be struck with a hammer in order to analyze the response of their body. Adding a visual component to the reflex hammer was a simple design task, but the results of doing so created a visually engaging aspect of the test for the patient, who gets interested in the colours and bright lights that interactively engage as the test proceeds. These lights drive curiosity in the young person's mind leading to questions and engagement from the patient during the assessment.  

As we continue to iterate on our design, and continue to put an elegant twist on traditional clinical tools, we realize that little changes can make a large impact on the physician/patient experience. LED lights are not revolutionary anymore. Accelerometers have been around for many years and can hardly be considered "innovative" at this point in time. It would be absurd to say that any one component of our RFX Hammer is "beautiful". However, when you take something simple like a traditional reflex hammer, and put a creative twist on it by combining basic components like LED lights and accelerometers, the outcome can be quite fascinating. Add a touch of industrial design with ergonomic considerations to the equation and what you are left with is something that is actually quite beautiful. You're left with the simple questions from an anxious child's mind, "what makes the lights flash?" or "can I try hitting the hammer on my own leg?". 

Ultimately, bringing creativity into the clinical assessment room opens the door to more engaged discussions between patients and their healthcare providers. When we speak about experiencing health beautifully, we are thinking about the experience in a clinical assessment room, and we are thinking about how that engagement can be more beautiful for all parties involved.

We aren't necessarily going to change the world with our unique spin on a traditional reflex hammer... but we can bring a smile to the face of a child during an assessment - and that is truly beautiful! 


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