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.

Paralympic business summit success

Two companies collaborating with D4D have taken part in a major global business summit on Advances in Assistive Medical Technologies as part of the Paralympic programme.

The global summit, which was organised by United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) and took place at British Business Embassy Lancaster House in early September, was attended by Tomorrow Options and Kingkraft.

The summit, which took place during the Paralympic Games, focused on the impact of innovative approaches to rehabilitation and assistive technologies on the activities of people living with injuries, disabilities or illnesses.

Paulo Ferreira dos Santos, from Tomorrow Options, a company that develops electronic devices for markets including health, sport and industry, delivered a presentation called ‘Advances in human biomechanics assessment’.

Kingkraft displayed its Shower Chair project, which aims to develop an ultra-lightweight, mobile and compact collapsible shower chair (transportable by disabled people themselves) for the independent disabled person showering markets.

The Summit was part of an 18-day programme taking place over the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor, Business Secretary, Foreign Secretary and over 30 other British ministers welcoming over 3,000 business leaders and global figures.

The series of global business summits was the largest and most ambitious set of trade and investment events ever held in this country.

Speakers included Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (KBE FRCS, Medical Director of the NHS), Mike Spindle (Trekinetic), Professor Guang-Zhong Yang (Imperial College) and Geoff McGrath (McLaren Applied Technologies).

Partnerships with national charities announced

Devices for Dignity (D4D) is pleased to announce that it has entered partnerships with two national charities as part of its commitment to Patient and Public Involvement.

The fundamental aim of D4D is to deliver technology solutions to support people with long term conditions – and crucial to this aim is the ability to communicate and engage with the end users of the technology.

As part of our commitment to patient and public involvement, D4D has formed strategic partnerships with key charities operating in the same areas of healthcare in order to explore unmet clinical needs direct from the people who are best placed to identify them – patients and carers.

These partnerships, with the Bladder and Bowel Foundation and Assist UK, have been formed to ensure user needs and views remain at the centre of D4D’s ongoing strategy.

Robert Dixon, Chief Executive of Bladder & Bowel Foundation: “We look forward to the opportunity to work collaboratively with D4D in the future. We believe our ability to represent the views of bladder sufferers within the urinary continence work stream will add real value to both current and future projects.

“We would expect the collaboration to make a real difference in establishing an informed and definitive database of patient needs in this often neglected area of opportunity.”

Alan Norton, Chief Executive of Assist UK, said: “As a member of the D4D Independent Steering Committee, I have advised D4D from both the perspective of CEO of Assist UK and as a disabled person myself.

“D4D has demonstrated a clear commitment to understanding unmet need from a holistic point of view by involving users in all aspects of product design.”

D4D joins the Twitter-sphere

D4D is pleased to announce it has launched a dedicated twitter feed, which can be found at 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.”

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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)