Case study - Clinical evaluation for specialist milkshake
Drinks manufacturers Slõ Drinks produce products for people who have dysphagia, a difficulty in swallowing. They were awarded by GM AHSN's Technology Innovation Challenge, helping to support the clinical evaluation of their latest innovation, Slõ Milkshakes.
These drinks, a world first, are specifically designed at the right thickness to ease swallowing difficulties, whilst also providing a high calorie, nutritious supplement for people who struggle to otherwise meet their dietary needs.
“One of our AHSN’s key priorities is to identify and support new innovations, which can lead to improved outcomes for patients."
Dr Donal O’Donoghue, Medical Director at GM AHSN
Dysphagia is a secondary symptom of some 127 different medical conditions, most commonly by stroke, but also by a range of diseases of the nervous system, cancer, or as a result of head or neck injuries. For those affected, ordinary liquids and solid foods can cause issues because they flow too fast for patients to cope with and when swallowed can lead to coughing, choking and respiratory problems. Eating and drinking can become extremely difficult and patients may become dehydrated and malnourished as a result.
Mathew Done, founder of Slõ Drinks, embarked on his business journey after asking a Speech and Language Therapist what dysphagia patients would really like. Nobody had asked it before. Sufferers had been making do with carers scooping maize-starch thickeners into their drinks. These not only made it difficult to achieve suitable consistencies, but also adversely affected the flavour and enjoyment of drinks.
“I couldn't believe in the 21st century those with dysphagia have to put up with drinks like this. They should still be able to have something enjoyable to drink – despite their condition!”
Mathew Done, founder of Slo Drinks
"Companies, especially SMEs, can face significant challenges trying to introduce their innovative products into the NHS and get them used at sufficient scale to really make a difference."
Linda Magee, Executive Director of Industry and Wealth, GM AHSN
Focused on supporting SMEs to do business with the NHS, the GM AHSN has established the Innovation Nexus as a bespoke support system for med-tech in the Greater Manchester region.
Supported by 34 member organisations and a range of influential partners, Innovation Nexus acts as a one-stop access hub from which companies can access information, funding opportunities and expertise as well as procurement help.
Its current primary priority clinical areas are cardiovascular health, patient safety and digital health/informatics.