Innovative micro-sensor technology on trial in GP practices and care homes in north-east London could save millions of pounds for the NHS by helping older people avoid falls.
GaitSmart, invented by Hertfordshire-based Diana Hodgins, PhD, is a portable, easy-to-use, biomechanics tool that accurately measures how individuals walk and presents laboratory-quality analyses in an easily understood format.
She explained: At least 15% of the population is at risk of falling or has osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Many of these people suffer with mobility issues and these are the people we are targeting.”
Walking is important to a person’s health and until we developed our system there was no way of measuring a person’s complete walking pattern in a clinical or home environment. With GaitSmart it’s all done in 10 minutes and at the end of the test an objective report is provided.
Diana is managing director of European Technology for Business Holdings Ltd, which is just completing its first round of investment to advance the commercialisation of GaitSmart after six years of research and clinical validation.
The Hertfordshire company has had a long association with Enterprise Europe Network in the East of England. Recent support has focused on accelerating GaitSmart’s commercial development through the EC-funded Enhancing Innovation Management Capacity programme.
EEN has also helped the company gather patient feedback and make successful applications to Innovate UK for grant funding for exporting (£24,000) and from their 2017 Open Call (£220,000). EU programmes have supported audits on IT and IPR.
GaitSmart is a disruptive technology that does not fit neatly into any current clinical pathway in the NHS. Following a strategic review with EEN adviser John Christopher the company decided to revamp the board.
Former investment banker Wanda Kim joined as executive chairman and two senior medical technology professionals with international experience were added to aid in developing the business strategy for penetrating the healthcare market in the UK and overseas. In addition, highly-skilled staff have joined the company to help with new product development.