Funding to develop hand hygiene innovation to combat pressure ulcers in NHS patients
Pressure ulcers (bed sores) are the biggest single cause of harm to patients in NHS care. NHS research using its Patient Safety Thermometer suggests that pressure ulcer prevalence can be reduced by 42% if hospital staff utilise the correct equipment, intentional rounding and provide adequate hydration and nutrition.
Veraz, a British company, wants to develop its VeraMedico System, a patented technology designed to help hospitals prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), to address this potential for improvement.
The company plans to use an ongoing in-NHS evaluation of its HAI module to test and develop a Patient Repositioning Module (PRM) that will support the prevention of pressure ulcers.
Ultimately, the PRM is part of a wider plan to develop a suite of modules known as VeraMedico, a real-time information collection system that uses machine learning and statistical intelligence to inform other ways to improve patient safety.
Veraz was awarded an Accelerator grant £20,000 from the Greater Manchester Academic and Health Science Network (GM AHSN), through the Innovation Nexus initiative.
How it happened
In 2014 Veraz received funding from the SBRI which enabled them to develop the VeraMedico Touch Monitoring system to the point of holding trials at CMFT. As they wished to further develop the system to encompass Patient Repositioning Monitoring (PRM), they needing further funding to do this, which is where the Innovation Nexus award came into play.
Not only was Veraz successful in securing a £20,000 award from the Accelerator grant but it also enabled the company to draw down a further £40,000 in SBRI funding to develop the PRM.
“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.
VeraMedico Patient Repositioning Module (PRM)
“Our last year has been an outstanding journey for us from all sorts of perspectives, and with the support of GM AHSN & SBRI we will be able to keep up the momentum and accelerate our strategy for engaging with the NHS.”
– Alaric Best, CEO, Veraz Ltd
The intelligent VeraMedico compliance tracker system is a set of discrete wearable/installable electronic devices fitted to patients, staff and specific equipment. It allows the unobtrusive monitoring of essential routine events that improve patient safety and health, for example in the prevention of HAIs and pressure ulcers, by:
- Tracking physical person to person contact
- Tracking physical person to equipment/bed contact
- Providing alerts via staff badges or other agreed methods
- Compliance checking against agreed protocols
HAIs cost the NHS more than £1 billion a year. Veraz believes its HAI technology can be developed to help reduce the pain and cost of pressure ulcers, and address other problems. The HAI module is currently being evaluated at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where it is showing improvements to the transmission of HAIs by 200%.