Our role is to build expertise and capacity to develop new medical devices and technologies in the NHS. Through our international network of clinicians, engineers, scientists, industry and patients, we identify new areas in need of innovation, support research to address these clinical problems, and provide a resource for testing new surgical devices and technologies within the NHS, helping them to move into clinical practice.
Ideas for medical devices and technologies can be initiated and driven by private companies, academics, healthcare professionals and patients/carers. However, there are plenty of devices and technologies that solve the technical or logistical problems but they may not always directly benefit the patient.
We would like to explore the lived experiences of patients (and their carers) that are about to or have undergone surgery. These might be experiences from before the operation, to patient care and experiences after the operation.
We are using a technique called “Photovoice” which allows people to express concerns and issues most important and relevant to them via photos. Because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, it can be a powerful way to help others understand and connect with the issues. We would like patients/carers to take photos of concerns and issues that represent their individual perspective and lived experience. Here are some examples:
Reduced mobility – could be an image of access to a building that is currently acting as a barrier or access to a park or walking trail
Skin irritation – could be an image of medications or a rash. There may be some technologies where one of the accepted side- effects is skin irritation, which in turn impacts on your quality of life, or increases costs in other areas.
Anxiety – could be an image of money or a will to represent financial anxiety, or multiple medications to represent anxiety around recovery; or anxiety around the lack of early detection systems for diagnosis, screening, monitoring, recovery or minimally invasive techniques that reduce trauma, improve recovery times and return to normal function.
Invasive tests – could be an image of a needle to represent unpleasant medical tests and procedures, or lack of sleep on the recovery ward
Pain – could be an image of pain medication, or the activities that you are not able to participate as a result of pain
These examples are not exhaustive and we do not want any images with identifiable information (i.e. no faces, names, addresses).
We would like to use our National Meeting as a platform to raise awareness to innovators of the lived experiences of patients, and to initiate a discussion on how new medical devices and technologies can include the patient/carer perspective. This will bring us closer to developing medical devices and technologies that will truly make a difference and transform the lives of patients and their carers.