Over the past 18 months, the NHS in Wales has proven to be one of the most pioneering health services in the world, with world-firsts such as the single log-in ‘Digital Services for Patients’ platform representing a revolution in clinical care and organisational efficiency.
On a smaller yet no less innovative scale, the Improvement and Innovation directorate known as ‘iCTM’ at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has embraced this spirit of invention with a real passion: establishing the Advanced Digital Physiological Hub (ADPE) to drive the adoption of novel technologies at pace – resulting in a pipeline of innovations that are making tangible improvements for the staff and patients of NHS Wales, every day.
With Accelerate Wales providing funding for the ADPE hub and providing state of the art 3D printers, scanners, design and prototyping facilities, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board is fast becoming an incubator and testbed for new products that are making a difference in the real world – including the simple sounding Cable Management Clip.
We spoke with Rob Salter, Innovation Scientist within the iCTM team at CTM UHB to find out how the ADPE team are creating such big improvements for one of the UK’s most essential services – and discovered how Rob’s own personal experience and professional expertise gained in industry with Agilient Technologies and Philips is now being harnessed for the benefit of one of the most essential services in Wales, the UK and beyond ….
Rob told us:
“The idea for the Cable Management Clip came from our Clinical Engineering colleagues in response to many incidents involving cable damage. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had been actively warning hospitals about the dangers of cable entrapment. Just imagine how many beds we have in the NHS – and how much costly and potentially dangerous damage can be caused in the course of an ordinary working day by all those cables. Our clip can prevent this from happening – and can also be used in many different clinical scenarios throughout hospitals.”
The combination of human ingenuity, digital design, and prototyping means that the commercialisation of this cable management clip is now underway.
Product design and testing is complete, with orders for 3000 units already placed within Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB; and the clips are available for NHS Wales in partnership with the manufacturer Innotech Engineering (www.innotech-engineering.co.uk).
“The close working partnership with Innotech Engineering Ltd has driven change and innovation within CTM UHB highlighting how collaboration has been key to creating both these clips and many other products.”
“The ADPE hub is a platform that brings together our staff, patients, academics and industry partners – giving us the freedom to work quickly and autonomously, responding rapidly to any issues and delivering solutions in the most practical way.
My time as an engineer in the private sector and a scientist in the health service had reinforced my thinking that Health Boards can benefit from tapping into the equipment, skills, and experience of industry in order to provide ‘there and then’ innovations.
Working with companies such as Innotech as an innovation partner means we (CTM UHB) can quickly prototype and test ideas, eliminate risk, reduce the time spent at experimental stage – and utilise our industry partner know-how to scale up production of the best solutions.”
The ability of the ADPE team to observe challenges and spot opportunities ‘on the ground’ in the NHS has seen them create an array of practical innovations that have been put to good use for the benefit of our patients and workforce.
Working with Pathology colleague, CTM UHB also identified another area for improvement – the Pathology Sample Holder. After liaising with industry partners, it was quickly prototyped, a more efficient design produced and subsequently a new product. This new design has delivered considerable added value as it enables a complete case, including paperwork, to be stored in one holder, whereas the previous model needed two holders per case and did not provide any space to store paperwork.
This collaborative approach has also created the Line Buddy product, a simple device that allows safe identification of the many infusion lines going into a patient whilst in critical care. The Line Buddy grew from a social media discussion between clinicians that highlighted dissatisfaction with the methods for managing infusion lines being used – sparking iCTM into action, with the team rapidly developing a prototype that allows much more efficient and safer management of infusion lines within often stressful clinical care situations. The Line Buddy is now available for purchase for the wider market – and is yet another product conceptualised and developed by the iCTM team.
The speed of action of the Advanced Digital Physiological Engineering hub holds endless potential – and that’s been recognised by the central part they are currently playing in a keystone collaborative project between University College London, Respiratory Innovation Wales, and Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB. This pioneering project is on a mission to develop an online repository for 3D printable designs and product risk files, enabling NHS hospitals to rapidly print suitable medical device parts and anatomical models … the latest example of the work that’s opening up new horizons, courtesy of a digitally enabled and human-centred innovation hub that sits at the heart of an inspirational Health Board.