It’s difficult to get medical devices out of academia and industry and into end-users’ hands. But a South Australian researcher developed a way to do it—and the program is now set to expand nationally, thanks to funding from the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre.
Devices the program has supported include the U-stand Frame—which helps hospital patients or the elderly stand from a bed with minimal assistance—and a device placed in urinals that gives instant feedback on hydration, to address the impact of heat stress on worker safety.
Professor Karen Reynolds’ Medical Device Partnering Program has been connecting industry and scientists with research and development experts in South Australia since 2008.
“The decrease in car manufacturing in South Australia has seen quite a few people looking for new opportunities,” says Karen, who is Director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University.
“This program facilitates the connections necessary for product development that many small companies don’t have. The devices and assistive technologies we support need to have both a commercial and research opportunity.”
They put the client in a room with eight to 10 diverse experts—for example engineers, clinicians, manufacturers, and government—to take the idea to pieces and see if it’s feasible.
Then they plan and provide expertise on a short project (up to 250 hours), such as building a prototype or trialling the device in the hands of clinicians, and deliver a 30-hour external market intelligence assessment which can be later used to craft a commercialisation strategy.
Karen is now working on a model for the national program, which she says will help ensure the best medical technologies reach the market, and could be rolled out within a couple of years if they secure enough funding.
Banner image: Mr Allan Perriam (Executive Director of INNOVO Healthcare) using the U-stand Frame with a patient. Credit: Flinders University