D4D joins the Twitter-sphere

D4D is pleased to announce it has launched a dedicated twitter feed, which can be found at twitter.com/devices4dignity or @Devices4Dignity.

There are over 500 million twitter users worldwide and it is one of the most popular social sharing websites.

Nicola Heron, D4D Programme Manager, said: “Twitter is a great new way for us to share news and information.

“We want to spread the news of D4D as far and wide as possible, as well as engaging with people interested in what we do, and Twitter allows us to do that across modern types of communications technology such as smartphones and tablets.”

D4D supported product takes off at Gatwick

A Devices for Dignity (D4D) supported product that provides postural support to physically disabled children on board aircraft was launched this month at an event at the Gatwick headquarters of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

TravelChair 2012, designed by the children’s disability charity MERU, is portable so can be securely installed on board the majority of types of aircraft (including helicopters) on request.

D4D supported MERU with TravelChair by providing advice and funding for research.

Virgin Atlantic has already placed orders for the TravelChair 2012 and MERU are actively participating in negotiations with several other major airlines.

The launch event was attended by representatives from the travel industry, disability groups and major airlines, as well as two of MERU’s patrons, Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen and Richard Stilgoe.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the CAA, who hosted the launch event on 22 May 2012, said: “There are nearly a half a million disabled children in the UK. For all of us, flying opens up worlds of possibility. For disabled children its significance can be even greater. It can mean life-changing experiences – like swimming with dolphins – or life-changing treatment. MERU deserve the utmost credit for developing the TravelChair, with its potential to enhance so many young lives.”

For further information contact us on enquiries@d4d-htc.org.uk

Funding awarded for bladder diary project

A collaborative project between D4D, MDTi, Medipex and RTC North has been awarded funding through the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPRSC).

The EPRSC funding has gone towards the trial of a bladder diary device being developed by ELAROS 24/7 Ltd (Electronic LUTS And Remote Observation Service).

The EPRSC’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is Europe’s leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

The EPSRC is building on a long-standing commitment to the KTP programme by providing funding for KTP as part of its investment in Knowledge Transfer Accounts (KTA).

Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) can adversely affect the quality of life of many individuals, and represent a significant economic burden for the health and social services. Currently, national guidance (NICE) recommends the use of bladder diaries to record urinary events (i.e. frequency of voids, volume of voids and episodes of urgency).

This aids accurate diagnosis and optimal management of LUTS. Despite this there is limited use of bladder diaries outside specialist services. There are two main obstacles to the use bladder diaries; the first is because of the limited experience with the use of a bladder dairy in primary care and the second relates to the difficulty in interpreting the raw information provided by a bladder diary.

ELAROS 24/7 Ltd has developed an innovative, diagnostic tool providing a computerised assessment and management service for LUTS in both men and women.

Data is collected by patients using a hand-held touch-screen electronic diary (UroDiary®) that is then downloaded to the GP clinical computer system for data visualisation, interpretation and patient management.

Once established, this should reduce inappropriate referrals and improve the diagnosis and management of LUTS with the potential to save the NHS £66M in reduction in referrals to secondary care and diagnostic costs alone. Market launch is scheduled for December 2012.

The KTP funding was received through the University of Sheffield’s Research and Innovation Department – University of Sheffield is one of the collaborative partners of D4D.

Commissing for incontinence, lower urinary tract and bowel symptoms – an audit

Continence, lower urinary tract (LUTS) and bowel symptoms are part of daily life for millions of people across the UK. This report is based on a Freedom of Information request which was sent to every PCT in England to uncover new data about the way that LUTS and continence services are commissioned.

Download the report from the BUI website

Report: 2 in 3 – Delivering world class services for people with continence, lower urinary tract and bowel symptoms

The changes taking place within the NHS provide both an opportunity and a challenge to improving outcomes for people affected by continence, lower urinary and bowel symptoms. This report has been developed by a group of health professionals that came together to consider the current provision of services for people with LUTS, as well as how this might be improved.

Click here to download the report from the BUI website.

D4D wins National Award

Devices for Dignity (D4D), a healthcare technology co-operative, has won a major national award for its pioneering work in delivering technological solutions to support people with long term conditions.

D4D won the Allied Health Professionals and Healthcare Scientists: Leading Together On Health Award at the 2012 Advancing Healthcare Awards (organised by Chamberlain Dunn) at a celebration lunch at the Radisson Blu Portman Square Hotel in London.

The award, sponsored by Unite the Union, was presented to D4D’s clinical director Professor Wendy Tindale by BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh.

D4D is a clinician-led formal collaboration between clinicians, patients, academics and industry, to address areas of unmet clinical need where innovations in treatments and technologies have the potential to make a huge impact by both reducing morbidity and improving quality of life.

The collaboration is focused on three key areas: assistive technology, urinary continence management and renal technology. It includes an online capability for people to suggest new ideas and currently runs a portfolio of 25 projects predicted to save the NHS £70million.

Judges commented that the D4D project was ‘a rich combination of partners – clinicians, patients, academics and industry – to achieve great things for people with long term conditions.’

Professor Wendy Tindale said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised for all of the hard work, skill and vision that have contributed to making D4D such a success.

“Winning this award is a fantastic achievement and provides the perfect springboard for us to continue delivering innovative projects which are helping to support people with long term health conditions.”

(L-R): Fergus Walsh (BBC medical correspondent); Zoe Clarke and Andrea Kirton from D4D;
Rachael Maskell (Unite); Jan Sobieraj (MD of NHS & Social Care Workforce, Department of Health)

RAate conference 2011

Devices for Dignity (D4D) works with industry, along with  inventors and clinicians and healthcare professionals who have ideas for medical devices that meet real clinical need.

An exciting invention which was led by Martin Johnson in its development featured a technology which needed clinical guidance make suitable for renal patients. The product is a simple home haemodialysis machine that’s easy to use, needs no cleaning and can be easily transported.

The innovation was inspired by learning about problems associated with current renal treatment using complex machines in hospital and looking at how other non-medical products have been made easy to use at home.

Martin’s team were experienced in developing machines in other markets which were more advanced in design yet smaller and simpler to operate than the current machinery on the market. They were surprised to find that dialysis technology had seen little change in 30 years.

“Technology transfer across markets enables reliable proven ideas to be adapted faster with fewer risks” says Martin, who founded Quanta Fluid Solutions Ltd to develop its unique haemodialysis machine. Martin was referred to D4D when it was first set up in 2008.

“We needed greater knowledge about patient and clinical needs. I’d been working with Dr Elizabeth Lindley, who’s now a D4D renal specialist,” he says.

She had been incredibly helpful to us in discussing the issues that needed addressing through any new product. What D4D has done has enabled us to develop that relationship with Dr Lindley and her team. It has also provided us with access to patients to discuss their needs and requirements from a home dialysis unit. Without D4D I don’t think we’d have had the same quality of  advice and support from clinical staff.”

Most patients who rely on haemodialysis as a treatment for kidney failure have to visit a hospital three times a week to undergo their treatment. With each treatment lasting approximately four hours – with additional time to set up dialysis machines – it’s an incredibly disruptive process for patients and labour intensive and costly for the NHS.

The Quanta machine, which is under development, will enable patients to dialyse themselves at home without the need for nursing help .

The simplicity of the controls will encourage more patients to take control of their treatment and will allow longer and/or more frequent treatment which in turn should have a positive impact on their general level of health and wellbeing.

To encourage patients to use a machine at home, it was important that it was operated like a domestic appliance ,  had an attractive design  and was portable to enable patients to travel anywhere with confidence .

Martin believes the D4D initiative to be invaluable for bringing industry professionals together with those at the coal face. “Industry need regular contact with clinicians to ensure the products we’re developing are meeting a real need medically, but are also in line with what health professionals and patients want,” he says.

Through D4D Martin attended an NHS Innovation Conference in London in June 2009, where the haemodialysis unit attracted the attention of NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson. “Meeting David Nicholson, and hearing him endorsing what we’re doing is fantastic,” says David.

If you’ve got an idea or an invention you’d like to discuss with us, please contact us.

D4D project to offer new support

People with neck weaknesses as a result of neurological diseases are set to benefit from improved designs of neck supports thanks to a new collaborative D4D project.

D4D, SITraN and Sheffield Hallam University have received an NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) grant for the development of a novel neck-collar.

The need for this project was initially proposed by the DeNDRoN Clinical Studies Group for motor neurone disease, with support from carers and patients, who approached D4D with the view that current neck collars are inadequate in terms of function, comfort and cosmesis.

The project originated as one of three case studies used in the D4D/KT EQUAL funded design workshop in July 2010.  The new project will start in April 2012.