This week I attended a fascinating event on our Chelmsford campus about medical innovation. It was hosted by MedTech Campus which is a partnership between Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford City Council, Southend-on-Sea Council and Harlow District Council.
They are based in the new MedBIC building that has sprung up on campus this year opposite the William Harvey Building and hold events like the one I went to every two months.
MedTech’s purpose, as I understand it, is to support people (not necessarily clinicians) who have ideas for medical innovation through all stages from the idea to the marketed finished product and how to do that. The evening that I went to was based in the Postgraduate Medical Institute (PMI) and showcased the work of local, medical innovators who had created their finished health product and were talking to the rest of the audience about their new businesses and products.
The creations that people had developed were amazing, it was so inspiring to hear from people who had identified a gap in the market, or experienced the need for a certain piece of medical equipment, and had gone out there to create it! The audience were presented with inventions such as a simple-to-use board that patients place their hands on and abnormal heart rhythms can quickly and easily be detected by GPs in their surgeries. We saw an iPad case for doctors on the wards that had an inbuilt antimicrobial feature so that technology could be used safely by both patients and clinicians. We also saw home blood pressure and heart rate monitors for patients requiring a 24-hour reading, that were designed to be more ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing with the potential to send data to doctors remotely.
The thing I love about hearing all of these ideas (plus the others from the evening not mentioned) is that often, it is the simplest things that you never thought of, like smart iPad cases, that make the hugest differences. (Another that I read about in the MedTech campus brochure was a hospital gown that uses poppers rather than ties to fasten at the back to maintain patient dignity – another ‘Amazing! Why didn’t I think of that?’ moment.)
This links into my love of hearing about future predictions for healthcare; the evening also acted as a platform for highly regarded clinicians and commissioners to talk about what they were working on, what current issues of interest there were in their areas, and provide predictions as to how their areas may change in the future. Being able to learn more about what these leaders were doing in their fields was a brilliant opportunity and so interesting. I was able to learn about the work going on in the St Andrew’s burns unit at Broomfield Hospital and see how they are developing different treatments. I learnt about new ways that cataracts can be removed and how a unit has opened up with a groundbreaking machine to do this. I heard the views of a clinical commissioner of what the current issues are in health, what the new innovations are and what he imagines the main changes to be in the next five years.
Additionally we heard about how simulation can and is being used for training purposes, the new ways of unblocking arteries and applications of brain cooling being developed at the Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon, and the creation of mobile stroke units with an inbuilt CT scanner to radicalise the treatment of stroke injury.
It was a brilliant evening. I would highly recommend that if people get a chance to go to another of these meet-ups (often held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London I believe), or are given the opportunity to learn more about what is going on in the PMI and in MedBIC, do take it up! Visit the MedTech Meetups website for details of futuremeetups.
Emma is a 2nd Year Child Nursing student at our Chelmsford campus. To keep up to date with Anglia Ruskin Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education, follow us on Twitter @FHSCEnews