It all starts with patient safety at Medovate

14th March, 2022

When Medovate was spun out of the National Health Service (NHS) in 2017, one of the key priorities was to ensure that each medical device the company developed added real value to patient safety.

The company mission is to “improve patient care and safety by supplying innovative Medtech solutions inspired by clinicians and developed in partnership with the NHS.”

Through a unique approach and business model, Medovate is working with NHS clinical inventors to develop innovative medical technologies which contribute to improving patient safety for healthcare providers and their patients.

Medtech and Patient Safety

Medical devices are integral to the delivery of healthcare services, across all aspects including diagnosis, monitoring, treatment and prevention. As such, medical technology forms a significant element of expenditure within healthcare services.

It goes without saying that patient safety is vital to all professionals involved in the delivery of healthcare, from start to finish, at all stages of the patient journey. The importance of patient safety also extends to medical device manufacturers who are developing technologies to support the delivery of those services.

Medical devices range from those which are relatively basic, such as single use instruments, to more complex automated solutions including the integration of software systems. All can impact on patient safety within healthcare systems. Application of good design and quality engineering processes can support the development of technologies which have a positive impact on patient safety. They can be designed, for example, to reduce the risk of incidents occurring, provide an alert to staff of a potential problem so timely action is taken, or to proactively support a suitable response should there be an incident.

Developing NHS innovation to support patient safety

Medovate provides a unique pathway for the NHS stakeholders it supports and works with to realise the benefits of innovative new medical devices to promote patient safety. Applying a rigorous approach to design, engineering, regulation and quality, and working with clinical inventors and experts in their field, a portfolio of new solutions for anaesthesia, critical care, airway management and surgery is being developed.

The first product to be successfully launched on the market is SAFIRA®: SAFer Injection for Regional Anaesthesia. This revolutionary new system for regional anaesthesia has been developed in partnership with clinicians from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom.

Mitigating for nerve damage during regional anaesthesia through innovation

The concept for the SAFIRA® system was born from observations made on the clinical front line with regard to the risks inherent within the standard regional anaesthesia process around potential nerve damage in patients, and the consequences for both the patient and healthcare providers.

Medovate worked closely with the NHS clinical innovator team throughout the design process to develop an easy to use technology which fits into existing protocols, reduces the risk of nerve injury and improves patient safety at an acceptable cost.

The SAFIRA® technology transforms the current two operator regional anaesthesia process into a single operator procedure by placing control of all aspects of the control of injection into the hands of the anaesthetist. Without SAFIRA® the clinician has an assistant to control injection. One potential source of risk during procedures can be tardy or miscommunication so by making it a single operator procedure patient safety is promoted.

A built-in safety feature is another key component promoting enhanced patient safety with the SAFIRA® system during the peripheral nerve block process. Using a human factors, clinician-led design and engineering approach, the innovative design incorporates technology to automatically limit injection pressure to under 20 psi, the pressure at which studies have indicated the risk of nerve injury increases if exceeded during local anaesthetic infusion.

Innovations for critical care settings

Other products in the Medovate portfolio to be launched imminently are also designed to help mitigate patient safety risks in critical care settings. For example, GLUCOSAVE® is designed to help prevent incidences of unnecessary administration of insulin following blood sampling where a glucose containing flush solution has been inadvertently connected. When this error occurs it can artificially raise the patient’s blood glucose sample measurement which can lead to the patient being given insulin inappropriately, potentially resulting in hypoglycemia with potential serious consequences. GLUCOSAVE® is designed to provide a visual alert to staff during the blood sampling process to prompt them to check if a glucose solution has been used, helping to prevent inappropriate insulin administration.

HUMIDICARE® is a novel Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) which visually alerts clinical staff to a dual humidification error in mechanical ventilation circuits. Artificial humidification systems are used with ventilated patients in the operating theatre or intensive care unit. Commonly used in clinical settings are both heated humidified (HH) and moisture exchangers (HME). However, if both are inadvertently used in the same breathing circuit complications can arise. If not swiftly noticed and rectified it can result in partial or full blockage of the airway with potentially fatal outcomes. HUMIDICARE® incorporates a colour-change warning system which is triggered when HUMIDICARE® is placed into a breathing circuit containing a HH giving staff a visual alert to check the breathing circuit.

Award winning NHS innovation presented at leading conferences

The successful design and launch of the SAFIRA® system and the global distribution of the technology through a growing network of distributors across the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East, demonstrates the value to be harnessed through supporting development of NHS generated innovation.

The value and impact of this transformative NHS innovation was recognised at the HSJ Awards in September 2021 when SAFIRA® won the prestigious “Patient Safety Innovation of the Year” award.

In awarding this patient safety accolade, the judges’ comments were that they felt that this was an outstanding example of healthcare innovation which has improved safety for both patients and staff. The innovation clearly demonstrated a reduction in known risk, with opportunity to enhance the patient experience, as well as contributing to the Greener NHS agenda. The judges found that the technology was a great innovation for healthcare, with good evidence of scalability and transferability to other sectors.

Clinical interest in the technology has also led to abstracts being presented at leading professional conferences and symposiums for regional anaesthesia about the impact of SAFIRA® on patient safety.

For example, at the American Society for Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Spring Meeting in 2021 the results of a paper, “Evaluation of a new regional anesthesia pump designed to help prevent nerve injury: a survey of users first impressions” was delivered as part of the featured abstracts programme. A “Mitigating for nerve injury by innovation: introducing SAFIRA®” symposium at a virtual meeting of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Therapy in March 2021 attracted a large audience of over 360 regional anaesthetists, indicating the significant interest in the topic of reducing the risk of nerve injury.

A proven pathway for NHS innovation to support patient safety

SAFIRA® is just one of the technologies in the Medovate company portfolio which has originated from an observed patient safety issue or risk and an NHS clinician, or clinical team, coming up with a potential technology-based solution.

The successful development, design and launch of the SAFIRA® system demonstrates what can be achieved through the unique partnership working approach that the Medovate model applies to supporting the development of NHS innovation. The SAFIRA® system is an inspirational success story of how the direct relationship between Medovate and the skilled clinicians and the NHS Trusts it works with ensures a smooth, efficient and cost-effective pathway from conception to frontline use improving patient safety.

Discover more about the Medovate portfolio and the technologies we are developing to support patient safety - click here

Are you a clinician with an innovation for anaesthesia, critical care, airway management or surgery? Get in touch: www.medovate.co.uk