The NHS is calling on engineering and technology companies to develop technologies for ambulance services and paediatrics.
Clinicians from across the NHS have identified six products needed to improve care.
The first requirement is for a carry chair for safely and easily moving patients in and out of ambulances. The clinicians have specified that the chair should help ambulance crews avoid the risk of injuring themselves and possibly further injuring their patients.
Another transportation mechanism is needed for moving patients with a fractured neck or femur. Ideally, the mechanism would be easy to use and it would self regulate or stabilise while the patient is in transit to help protect the patient from further injury.
The NHS also hopes that ambulances of the future will be equipped with ‘intelligent’ mattresses that can rapidly and non-invasively monitor vital signs and diagnose common conditions.
In the paediatric field, engineers are being asked to design improved diagnostic and investigative testing for children. These tests should include a rapid assessment of ER-based vital signs, a differentiation of viral versus bacterial infections and multiple specific and generic tests that could network visualisation for quick decision making.
The NHS also requests improvements in the way tests are performed. It is hoped that these new methods could be carried out at the bedside and offer the ability to deliver multiple tests through the same platform.
Finally, solutions are needed for children with profound learning and physical difficulties. It is believed that new technology could help manage children with long-term conditions in the community in a way that increases their quality of life.
Successful companies will receive funding through the NHS. Applications for the first phase of developing these products should be submitted to the National Innovation Centre before 30 September 2009.
Further information and application forms can be found here: http://competitions.nic.nhs.uk/ChallengeList.aspx.