Medtronic NURO

The goal of the NURO External Neuromodulation System was to improve quality of life for people with Overactive Bladder (OAB). This condition causes stress and embarrassment, and sufferers often limit their activities and avoid social situations, damaging their emotional and physical well-being. Neuromodulation uses tibial nerve stimulation to restore patents’ natural ability to control their bladder. However, non-surgical neuromodulation devices were expensive, had long wires that tangle and limit patient movement during therapy, and required constant monitoring by a clinician.

NURO is an affordable, non-surgical, office-based solution for delivering neuromodulation. The device snaps to a standard ECG pad, which is adhered to the patient’s foot. The long wires of typical external systems are eliminated, replaced by one 7” wire that travels to the needle. The system is entirely contained on the patient’s ankle during the therapy session, allowing the patient freedom to reposition themselves for comfort during the session.

We designed NURO to have a soft, friendly, and approachable appearance. We streamlined the interface design to minimize button presses, and prioritized critical information (stimulation level and time remaining) in large, easily readable numbers.

An important challenge was cost-reduction; current systems are expensive to use, and the low Medicare reimbursement rate was a disincentive to providing the therapy. We contained cost by using a low-cost display, utilizing off-the-shelf accessories, and keeping the system contained on the patient’s ankle so that constant supervision is not required – freeing up the nurse to tend to other patients. As a result, the Medicare reimbursement is now attractive to providers, meaning that more patients with OAB will receive this life-changing therapy.