SBRI Healthcare 9 – Phase 1 Winners

Company: Safekeeping Solutions
Title: Reducing Falls Through Bed-Exit Predictive Technology
Category: Falls
Total Contract Awarded: £99,315
AHSN: West Midlands AHSN

Overview: The purpose of this project is to validate the technical feasibility and commercial value of an innovative bed-exit sensor that has been invented by Safekeeping Solutions. The study will provide the evidence that the novel technology is desired by clinicians and can be used to develop an ACCURATE and PROMPT bed-exit sensor. The technology aims to improve carer response times and deliver fewer false alarms, ultimately reducing NHS costs significantly and improving patient care.

In hospitals and mental health units in England and Wales, around 44,000 patients fell from a bed between 1st September 2005 and 31st August 2006, which is equivalent to around 1 in 200 patients. In this same year, 90 patients fractured their hip and 11 patients died falling from a hospital bed (Patient Safety Observatory – Slips, Trips and Falls in Hospital 2007). These statistics are echoed in published analysis of NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) data relating to falls leading to litigation between 1998 and 2004. The analysis found that 23% of falls leading to litigation were falls from a bed (Patient Safety Observatory – Slips, Trips and Falls in Hospital 2007).

 Rinicare Limited
Title: System to Avoid Fall Events (SAFE)
Category: Falls
Total Contract Awarded: £99,694
AHSN: North West Coast AHSN

Overview: Rinicare plans to develop an integrated 24/7 non-invasive System to Avoid Fall Events (SAFE) that combines a thermal imaging (TI) optical sensor and bespoke algorithms on an embedded PC (EPC) into a Smart Surveillance Unit (SSU) to detect changes in a patient’s position in a hospital style bed. This information will be used to provide an early warning message (visual/ audio) to the clinician so the relevant action can be taken to prevent that patient falling out of the bed.

At an individual level, falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into long term care. Rinicare is focusing on developing a system that is suitable for both hospital and community care. The system could be used in both single rooms and wards and it is proposed the alarm system can be customised to suit the characteristics or behaviours of the patient.

 Ally Labs Ltd
Title: Ally – Smart Home Care
Category: Functional Difficulties
Total Contract Awarded: £99,460

Overview: This project aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility and benefits of an in-home early warning system for detecting increased frailty in elderly individuals. The product, Ally, consists of a hub and peripheral. The hub plugs into a central area of the senior’s home while a secondary peripheral is attached to their keys. These two products work together to track daily living patterns – identifying unusual changes in routing and alerting carers to immediate and potential health concerns via a mobile app, including sharp declines in health such as worsening dementia or the early onset of flu. The project builds off of Eddy Labs’ existing audio recognition technology, adapting it to provide daily routine monitoring for early detection of potential health problems.

Company: Buckingham Healthcare
Title: Exercise system for inpatients
Category: Functional Difficulties
Total Contract Awarded: £13,805

Overview: Patients in a ward environment are at risk of developing muscle wastage while in hospital due to a natural deterioration in their physical function as a result of their immobility. This patient exercise system is designed to maintain a patient’s pre-admission level of function and to improve their muscle strength while in hospital with a view to being discharged home more quickly.

 Acute Technology Ltd
Title: Improving Medication Adherence by Remote Monitoring of Monitored Dosage System Trays
Category: Functional difficulties
Total Contract Awarded: £99,760
AHSN: East Midlands AHSN

Overview: Poor adherence to prescribed medication is known to be a major problem for all long-term conditions, with only 50% of medication taken correctly. Non-adherence in the NHS is estimated to cost more than £500m per annum and is associated with a 50% increase in falls. This project will add sensors to existing medication packaging so that friends, family, service providers and healthcare professionals can remotely monitor medication consumption and assist the elderly person with adherence.

Unique aspects of the project are a sensor design that can be added to weekly medication trays at minimal incremental cost with no change to current pharmacy procedures and communications technology that can be easily self-installed in every home.

Title: Inclusiviti Chair- a stylish embodiment of functional and aesthetic design  making assistive technology aspirational
Category: Functional difficulties
Total Contract Awarded: £100,000

Overview:  Existing mobility aids (wheelchairs) have a number of disadvantages. They are often too cumbersome and have limited range of movement. Users are lower than standing person, creating difficulties in social situations and performing activities for daily living (ADL) in kitchen and bathrooms. They can be disconcerting on ramps as user moves forwards or backwards placing them at risk of falling. The Inclusiviti Chair delivers improvements through intuitively controlled Mecanum wheels. These comprise of hubs with several elliptical rollers placed at an angle around the periphery. Mounted in groups of four, Mecanum-wheeled systems achieve omnidirectional movement by varying speed and rotation direction of different wheels [Ilon (1975) US patent 387255; Diegel et al. (2002)] This allows unrivalled manoeuvrability- crabbing and diagonal movement in a compact footprint.

Further step-change improvements will be designed and tested as follows: A motorised mechanism to raise and lower so users can reach a kitchen worktop or sit at a table. When moving, lowering will enhance stability. An automatic tilting mechanism that increases stability on ramps and incled surfaces will increase a user’s reach. The Inclusivity chair is a fraction of the cost of adapting houses for elderly residents, and will be re-usable. Close links to the University of Sheffield give access to the Centre for Assistive Technologies and Connectivity in Healthcare (CATCH), who will assist in evaluation.

Company: 11Health & Technologies Ltd
Title: Restoring control and quality of life within stoma care
Category: Functional Difficulties
Total Contract Awarded: £99,500

Overview:  Ostom-i Alert is a sensor that clips onto any ostomy bag and sends Bluetooth alerts to an app on a patients’ mobile device telling them when their bag is filling. This was designed by Michael Seres after his real-life experience of being given a stoma.

Currently patients with stoma bags have no warning when their bags are filling. This results in overflows and spills, particularly at night. These are distressing, embarrassing and reduce patients’ quality of life. They also lead to numerous health conditions including infections. This device allows patients to set personalised warning alarms for their bag. This also captures information on volume of output which can be emailed to patient and clinicians. The time and financial savings this will generate within the NHS are considerable, as are the health benefits to patients and their quality of life.


Company: Sky Medical Technology Limited
Title: Assessment of a New Type of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for the Treatment of Faecal Incontinence in the Frail and Elderly
Category: Incontinence
Total Contract Awarded: £92,822
Overview: Faecal Incontinence (FI) is a substantial health problem, which is set to increase in an ageing population. If simple measures do not work, expensive specialist care is needed. Electrical nerve stimulation to treat FI has been established by several studies and can be delivered through percutaneous (needle) or transcutaneous (TENS) approaches. The former has the theoretical advantage of improved dose concentration, but necessitates multiple specialist hospital visits to insert the needle. The latter requires the patient to be hard-wired to the TENS generator.  Both are costly, with a course of PTNS costing approximately £1,400 in the UK.

We have developed a technology called OnPulseTM that is currently employed in hospitals under NICE guidelines to prevent DVTs occurring following surgery.  OnPulseTM is employed in the form of the Geko, a small, self-adhesive device that employs small electrical impulses to gently activate nerves in the body.  In this case where the Geko is being used to treat FI, the Geko is located next to the ankle where it stimulates the tibial nerve.  This has been shown to significantly reduce levels of FI in patients. However, it is supposed that – if its use is analogous with its application in the prevention of DVT – then the Geko has major advantages over other electrical stimulation techniques:1) It is far cheaper 2) The patient remains completely mobile  3) It is much easier to use.

This project has three main aims:1) To demonstrate that the Geko is so easy to fit and use that it could be self-applied by frail, elderly patients or their carers. 2) To demonstrate that there is an economic case for the adoption of the Geko in hospitals, care homes and patients living at home. 3)  To translate the project findings into early device modification briefs for phase 2 product development.


Company: Docobo Ltd
Title: CHitFIT Connected Health interface to Faecal Identification Transducer
Category: Incontinence
Total Contract Awarded: £100,000
AHSN: Kent, Surrey & Sussex

Overview: A new methodology for detecting faecal incontinence to support early detection with subsequent reduction with tissue viability problems and UTI incidence. The aim is to develop a small, battery-powered opto-electronic device, about the size of a mobile telephone or smaller, which is worn by the patient, or attached to the patient’s bed. A disposable low-cost polymer optical fibre will connect this to a suitably modified/engineered pad which will have the sensor woven into the fabric. Information from the device, that indicates the presence of a stool, will be transmitted to the Docobo eHOME Care Home management system which will alert the patient or staff as appropriate, allowing appropriate action to be taken.

With this capability, along with the existing health monitoring provision that doc@HOME provides in Care Homes, there is an opportunity to be able to monitor Multi-Morbidities and present to clinical and quality assurance staff the performance of the care home and the health status of its residents. Data can also be made available to relatives in order to monitor the quality of care given to their loved one.


Company: JVS Products Ltd
Title:Development of a simple  one-step cleaning method for intermittent catheters to enable frail  disabled and older people to easily reuse their catheters
Category: Incontinence
Total Contract Awarded: £98,814
AHSN: Wessex

Overview: Urinary incontinence has been shown to affect more than one fifth of people aged over 85 years, leading to both serious physical and psychological difficulties and high levels of admission to long-term care. Intermittent catheterisation (IC) is recommended management as an effective solution for those with bladder emptying difficulties, including those who are frail and elderly.

In the UK, there are approximately 50,000 IC users, all of whom are supplied with ‘single use’ catheters, resulting in high cost to the NHS. In contrast in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US, multi-use catheters are offered but there is no evidence-based cleaning method described. A current NIHR-funded project (MultICath) is investigating the use of various cleaning treatments based around household products and appliances, with a two-step chemical method now undergoing panel testing. Three catheter manufacturers have agreed to their uncoated PVC catheters being used. Data collected in this work is showing how IC users are receptive to cleaning and re-using catheters and value the benefits. The possibility of a simple but effective one-step method is likely to be crucial to uptake of reusable catheters.

In this study, we will investigate the anti-microbial activity of a novel biocide and assess its acceptability as a one-step cleaning treatment. Phase 1 will focus on laboratory testing and optimisation of the treatment protocol. In Phase 2, panels of IC users will be involved in the development of a practical cleaning kit, as well as testing the product for efficacy comparison with the MultICath method. The step-wise approach to testing and development would lead to an easy to use, evidence-based alternative to single use IC in the UK and provide a scientifically robust cleaning solution for implementation globally.


Company: Lucid Group Limited
Title: Development of An-i-sys a rapid diagnosis for the causes of faecal incontinence by complete investigation of anorectal function in one patient session.
Category: Incontinence
Total Contract Awarded: £99,996
AHSN: Greater Manchester

Overview: In the elderly, incontinence is second only to dementia in driving admissions to residential care. We aim to develop a unique 3 in one diagnostic device to measure biophysiological markers (pressure, sensation and muscle contractility – via EMG), enabling more precise diagnosis of the functional deficits in faecal incontinence at primary care. Our objective is to create a prototype and in-vitro test that validates basic operating principles, including the novel application of technologies with precedent in other markets.

Faecal incontinence is a stigmatising, under-reported but increasingly prevalent, marker of multiple-morbidities leading to frailty, particularly in older people. These include relatively easily treated conditions like constipation and haemorrhoids, and serious inflammatory bowel conditions such as Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and tumours. Early causal diagnosis can enable effective, conservative treatments, maintaining mobility, improving physiological and psychological outcomes for patients and their carers. An-i-sys could positively impact social and health-care budgets, as it could be portable, compact, hygienic, inexpensive and intuitive enough for widespread primary care use at baseline assessment. This single, rapid diagnostic might replace three current expensive and invasive diagnostics. The system could directly reduce waiting times to NHS treatment, bypassing some referrals for diagnosis to GI clinics, as the underlying conditions would now be discovered at baseline assessment.

In summary, we aim to facilitate a more direct and accessible diagnostic pathway, helping maintain mobility in the elderly. This could reduce care costs with earlier, more patient friendly, accurate and widespread diagnosis of conditions that directly lead to frailty