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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N02723X/1
Title: EPSRC-NIHR HTC Partnership Award 'Plus': Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin: Intellegent sensing to promote self-management.
Principal Investigator: Bader, Professor DL
Other Investigators:
Worsley, Dr P R Morgan, Professor SP Sinkus, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Health Sciences
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 July 2016 Ends: 30 June 2019 Value (£): 502,895
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jan 2016 HT Networks Plus Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Modern medicine has been transformed in recent decades, with advances leading to increased life expectancy and a significant number of individuals living with long term health conditions. This has, in part, been due to the development of advanced medical devices which provide a range of interventions, including respiratory support and mobility aids. Many of these devices have to interface with the body, which creates a mechanical force against the underlying skin and soft tissues. An individual ability to withstand these forces depends on the vulnerability of skin tissues, with factors such as age, vascularity and previous wounds contributing to their tolerance. Clinicians provide medical devices to match the patient needs at that time of fitting, ensuring the device is both functional and comfortable. Inevitably, circumstances and demands change with time for the individual, which can impair the effectiveness of the device and in some cases cause harm. Indeed, evidence has implicated medical devices in the development of over 30% of pressure ulcers acquired in hospitals. These pressure ulcers contribute to an NHS financial wound care burden of £4Bn/yr. Subsequently, many devices are discarded, thus compromising individual needs and costing the healthcare provider valuable resources.

Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin NetworkPlus (MDVSNplus) will integrate research expertise and motivate clinicians and industrialists to provide intelligent strategies to maintain medical device longevity and patient comfort in a range of clinical settings. It brings together leaders in the fields of sensing, imaging and computer simulation to provide the necessary expertise to evaluate the impact of new and existing medical devices which attach to vulnerable skin. We aim to use these capabilities to develop a series of intelligent mechanisms, for example sensors, which can monitor the functionality and safety of devices over time. MDVSNplus will also target methods of detecting when a device is causing harm to vulnerable skin and create an early warning system for patients and carers.

MDVSNplus will encourage new research partners by offering funding for a series of feasibility projects which are aligned with our core aims. Each potential proposal will l be reviewed by an independent innovation panel and assessed based on the clinical need and feasibility to translate the research findings to practice. Funding to the MDVSNplus will also be used to host outreach events for clinicians and end users in order to provide evidence based guidance and education on the choice and application of medical devices. The MDVSNplus will also work closely with colleagues based in the healthcare sector, who specialise in medical devices and wound prevention, to bridge the gap between research findings and the application into clinical practice.

Through these funded projects the MDVSNplus will provide innovation to improve quality of life in individuals who depend on the use of medical devices. This will also offer the opportunity for the NHS to reduce costs associated with treatment of medical-device related skin damage and their potential recurrence. It will also ensure that devices which are current being supplied can be optimised in terms of functionality and longevity, providing the best value for money. We also envisage that new medical devices and sensing technologies will attract interest from the healthcare industry to reinvest in novel medical device technologies. In order to sustain the impact of the research findings the applicants will lobby key agencies such as the MHRA (UK medical device regulator), to raise the awareness of medical device related injuries and inform legislation surrounding device design and application. Research output from the MDVSNplus will also contribute to clinical guidelines surrounding the application of medical devices and, where necessary, new standards of medical device testing.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk