A medical innovation born in the West Midlands is poised to play a crucial role in helping to save millions of lives across the world.
Medical Devices Technology International (MDTi), which has been shortlisted for a prestige Lord Stafford Award for Innovation, has signed a deal for its ‘Hoo-kOn’ intravenous community infusion stand to be used by the Worldwide Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Red Cross as they treat people throughout the globe.
The news of this contract comes just a few months after the product was accepted in NHS Trusts, with its unique modular frame providing a solution that is easier to transport, operate and clean – improving infection control and potentially saving the Government hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
Martin Levermore, Chief Executive Officer of MDTI, said: “The idea for the ‘Hoo-kOn’ was devised by a team of Wolverhampton IV Therapy Nurses within the NHS PCT, who had grown frustrated with conventional stands that are heavy, expensive and difficult to use if you are on your own.
“We took the original design and, through our relationship with the local NHS Innovation Hub MidTECH, worked with the University of Wolverhampton to develop a successful prototype that quickly proved a hit with all the trials.”
He added: “It was officially launched in May 2008 at the Penn hospital and is now in use with community nurses and in acute hospital wards.
“Its versatility and the fact the intravenous bag can be hung onto a modular stand without an additional person attending has seen it successfully used by the WHO and International Red Cross, with more trials currently taking place with the RAF in Afghanistan.”
MDTI has already completed £300,000 of orders for the ‘Hoo-kOn,’ which has been manufactured entirely in the UK to provide staff with a lightweight, easy to stow device that can be cleaned quickly and assembled within two minutes.
The global potential for the device has also seen the company nominated for the ‘Achievement through Innovation’ title at this year’s Lord Stafford Awards, with the firm down to the final four.
Due to be held at Worcester Cathedral on November 13, the competition aims to showcase the best in collaboration between universities and the West Midland’s most innovative companies.
“Our entire business model is focused on taking new ideas from NHS staff, testing their viability and, once this first hurdle has been passed, working with NHS Innovation Hubs across the country to bring them to market under exclusive licensing agreements,” said Martin, who used to work as a bomb disposal officer and as an international banker.
“Hoo-kOn was developed and ready for operation within a few months, thanks mainly to the collaborative input from the University of Wolverhampton and its Centre of Engineering Excellence.
“Working together, we were able to develop a CAD model within a matter of weeks and, following assistance with material selection and the manufacturing process, we quickly entered into large scale production. This partnership approach speeded up our ability to get it to market by about two years.”
Employing eight people at its base in Wolverhampton, MDTI currently has licences for seven medical products, including the Physio-Master for preventing deep vein thrombosis and Uflow meter, a portable, accurate and reliable gauge for detecting lower urinary tract symptoms in men.
The next stage of its development will see it strengthen its catalogue by adding 13 new products by 2010.
Patron of the Awards, Lord Stafford, said: “I’m absolutely delighted we are talking about an innovation born in the West Midlands that potentially could help save lives all over the world.”
He added: “Importantly, MDTI has developed a business model that takes ideas and turns them into reality, which not only creates jobs locally but also puts significant investment back into the NHS.”