Discovering Hands

Dr. med. Frank Hoffmann.
Next Economy Award – Category “People” (2016). Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award (2014). Innovationspreis der Financial Times Deutschland (2011). Ashoka Fellowship (2010).

A personalised, diagnostically superior, low-cost breast examination method that provides a new professional path for blind and visually impaired women. It enables them to work in the primary healthcare sector not “despite their disability”, but “because of their capabilities”, whilst at the same time enhancing patients' healthcare experience.

Impact indicators


  • 37 blind women are working as Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs) in Germany.



  • A study involving 339 patients showed that the sensitivity for the detection of Birads IV and V tumours by MTEs increases by more than 20% in comparison with physicians.

  • After screening the treatment of 451 patients by the two different methods, a previous qualitative study showed that MTEs find 28% more alterations in breast tissue that are 50% smaller (5-8mm vs. 10-15mm) in comparison to the findings identified by medical doctors.

Implementation progress

In 2015 started the implementation of the model in Latin America under the name Manos que Salvan Vidas (Hands that Save Lives). The CAF (IIS) Social Innovation Initiative started its adaptation to Latin America with a pilot in the city of Cali, Colombia, jointly with the Mayor's Office of Cali and its Health Secretariat, the San Juan de Dios Hospital, the Center for the Rehabilitation of Blind Adults, and the Cauca Valley Institute for Blind and Deaf Children. In 2015, two professionals specialised on teaching disabled people travelled to the cities of Duisburg and Berlin (Germany) to be trained on the Discovering Hands methodology.

In 2017, the initiative was presented in Athens, Barcelona and Lisbon as part of the Accelerating Change for Social Inclusion (ACSI) project to explore its local implementation.

Última actualización 2020