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Smart Solutions winners show way forward for healthcare

A new cardiovascular screening system which uses retinal images, a service to diagnose patients with sleep apnoea in their own homes, and devices to detect leg arteries and neuropathy in diabetics are the winners of the Smart Solutions for Healthcare programme. The four products will now undergo evaluation at healthcare sites in the North West of England.

iGrading CVD software from Medalytix in Liverpool offers a new way to assess people’s risk of cardiovascular disease based on a simple retinal image which is analysed using automated algorithms. It does not require specialist staff and provides almost instant results. Medalytix suggests it could cut the cost of the government’s Health Check screening programme for over-40s by up to 35%.

The Padd device from Dialog Devices in Loughborough detects peripheral arterial disease (PAD) by using infra-red light to assess blood volume in the foot before and after raising the leg. Padd offers a rapid and simple way to detect and monitor PAD in a primary care setting and, unlike tests in current use, is reliable for use on diabetics.

The sleep study service by Cambridge-based Trillian allows diagnostics of sleep apnoea in patients’ own homes through the use of an electric monitoring device. Patients collect the device from their GP’s surgery, leave it on overnight and return it the next day. The data is sent to Trillian for analysis. The total cost of £250 compares to £750 for diagnosis in a hospital sleep centre.

The VibraTip® by McCallan Medical of Nottingham uses vibration to test for peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet of diabetic patients. Unlike tuning forks, which are currently used, it provides a consistent source of vibration so results are more reliable. The device, which is the size of a key fob and costs around £6, is small and inexpensive enough for nurses or patients to keep in their pocket.

The Smart Solutions team will be setting up and monitoring evaluations of these winning products and services in the coming months. Dr Bryan Griffiths, Programme Director, said: “The NHS faces a monumental challenge in the years ahead and new technologies and services will be required to help change the way care is delivered. Smart Solutions for Healthcare has highlighted some of the ingenious potential solutions which are available.

“All four of the winners provide rapid and simple ways to diagnose long-term conditions in a primary care environment, instead of specialist centres as at present. Not only do they provide significant savings on the initial testing costs, but allowing earlier diagnosis gives scope for more effective treatment and prevention. This in turn ensures better outcomes and savings on longer-term care. 

The Smart Solutions for Healthcare Team.

The Smart Solutions for Healthcare Team.

Professor Andy Levy, Inventor of Vibratip

Professor Andy Levy, Inventor of Vibratip

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