Category: Healthcare & Medical
Winner: INSIGHT system
During a time when the healthcare sector has been placed under enormous strain, innovation to improve efficiency for both patients and healthcare professionals is welcomed. As a result of the pandemic, many people with wide-ranging medical conditions have faced lengthier treatment processes and delays to appointments.
An already time-consuming and costly process is the fitting of prostheses to people with lower limb loss. Current processes to fit a prosthetic socket rely heavily on a ‘trial-and-error’ methodology based on patients’ complaints of discomfort, with delays often resulting in an ill-fitting prosthesis and a miserable experience for the patients — who may have to endure the entire process all over again.
Eager to provide a life-changing solution is our Healthcare & Medical winner, the INSIGHT system, developed by biomedical innovation company Adapttech. The solution was developed in collaboration with technological institute Citeve; and integrated design and engineering services provider Vangest, both based in Portugal alongside Adapttech’s R&D lab.
The INSIGHT pressure mapping technology system combines low-profile biocompatible sensors, a wearable device and a cloud-based app alongside a 3D socket scanner. It aims to allow clinicians to provide better socket fitting and monitoring methods.
“Adapttech’s technology improves the efficiency of the fitting process, giving patients a more positive experience with the fitting of their prosthetic, creating meaningful and comprehensive reports whilst allowing them to enjoy a prosthetic with an improved fit faster,” said Frederico Carpinteiro, CEO of Adapttech. “We also give time back to clinicians to spend on patient rehabilitation, and to help more people.”
Carpinteiro founded the company aiming to provide better quality of life to those who live with physical limitations, realising there was a gap in the O&P (orthotics and prosthetics) market for this innovation during his Master’s degree in Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
“INSIGHT has a direct impact on patient well-being, who avoid the tiresome traditional fitting process and can return to everyday life faster,” Carpinteiro told The Engineer. “The improved socket fit also delivers a more active quality of life, and patients better understand what is going on within their sockets as well as feeling more included in the process.
“Furthermore, patients do not need to worry about the inability to provide accurate feedback to physicians, as there is now objective data to support what they feel within their residual limb.”
Through INSIGHT, patients can evade the painstaking experience of trying to find the words to explain to prosthetists what they are feeling within their socket, Carpinteiro added — an experience that can make the process increasingly laborious and discouraging especially with some patients experiencing little to no sensation at all due to medical conditions.
The wearable system gathers biodata regardless of the patient’s activities. It comprises the main unit and the INSIGHT Wearable IMU (WIMU), an accessory that gathers patient motion data and helps to identify patient gait phases.
Clinicians can precisely locate all problematic points where corrections are needed and suggest required modifications to maximise the adaption. This can reduce friction and pressure pain, reducing the number of replacements needed to reach a final socket by up to 40 per cent, with speed of the fitting process accelerated by up to 60 per cent. The average number of visits for a fitting can also be reduced from three to just one or two.
INSIGHT has a direct impact on patient well-being, who avoid the tiresome traditional fitting process and can return to everyday life faster
Frederico Carpinteiro, CEO, Adapttech
Collaboration with Citeve involved drawing on the company’s knowledge of the textile sector to find the right materials for the wearable: foam and laser-cut fabric, biocompatible, water-resistant and durable material.
Expertise from Vangest was utilised to design and develop a flexible enclosure in injection moulded silicone that could incorporate the electronics and withstand continuous bending as the device is used.
“Quarantine and social distancing rules have had a significant impact on the non-emergency medical sector, including O&P professionals, meaning that patients have been missing appointments due to fear of catching Covid, and capacity of both staff and patients has been down within clinics,” said Carpinteiro.
“This means that the data we receive from our partners for product development has been slow or put on hold due to the safety measures and guidelines that have been put in place.”
Like many, the company has found itself adapting to host meetings and demonstrations virtually as a short-term solution for the challenges posed to the collaborative aspect of this project.
INSIGHT has already been demonstrated to be making an impact in O&P clinics around the world, with several successful case studies showing marked improvements on patient experience. So far it is being used by Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA), Body in Motion, B.T.C Orthopedie and Generale De Sante (Ramsay Sante) - Clinique Provence-Bourbonne.
In addition to Prosthetic centres, Physical Rehabilitation Centres are impacted by the innovation as the rehabilitation and monitoring of amputees plays a key role in the process. Data provided by INSIGHT can help to deliver value to this process. O&P schools are another target segment for the system, which can act as an educational tool to facilitate learning of theoretical concepts studied by O&P students.
“The main challenge that the Adapttech team had during the development of the INSIGHT system was to design a product that would be able to integrate the traditional socket fitting process in a way that would add value to that process, facilitating and supporting all the work of the clinicians,” Carpinteiro said.
“The way our team came to achieve this goal was to closely follow the work of the prosthetists from different clinics in order to fully understand all the workflows used, while receiving feedback on all the limitations or problems experienced by both CPOs and patients.”