Insights from the Surgery Health Hack

23rd March, 2018

James Clulow, Innovation Manager

Health Enterprise East

The Health Enterprise East team had a great couple of days delivering the Health Hack on Surgery on 18-19 January at the Trinity Centre, Cambridge.

This was our second Health Hack with the aim of raising awareness of the Medtech Accelerator and the team was excited by the quality of participants all of whom shared a passion for driving healthcare improvements through technology innovation.

The event kicked off with a keynote from Professor Jaideep Prabhu of Cambridge University who shared his thoughts on how frugal innovation can help systems, including health, do more (and better) with less. Delegates were given fantastic examples of how frugal thinking has transformed services in India, Africa and increasingly in the West with simple, affordable but effective technology.

Individual ‘idea owners’ were then invited to present their unmet surgical needs to an audience of so-called ‘support actors’. The support actors were a wide variety of individuals with differing skillsets in the healthcare field including designers, developers, engineers, business mentors, IP experts and consultants who kindly gave up their time to lend their support to the idea owners in shaping their solutions. Ideas presented ranged from novel surgical retractor devices, better imaging modalities to digital platforms to enhance patient safety during surgery.

The evening concluded with some networking over ‘beer and pizza’ and it was great to see the support actors mingling with our idea owners (many of whom were NHS staff) and beginning to form the teams for the next day.

The day of the ‘Hack’ started bright and early at the Trinity Centre with a refresh of the pitches from the night before, including two additional volunteers from the audience. A total of 5 teams were formed and everyone headed off fuelled by fresh coffee to begin the creative part of the day!

By mid-afternoon the teams were preparing their ‘pitches’ for the esteemed panel of judges including Karen Livingstone, Industry & Partnerships Director at the Eastern AHSN, Chris Jones, Non-executive Director of Health Enterprise East, Ekta Sood from sponsors Jaltek, Danny Godfrey from product development specialists EG Technology, Neil Ebenezer, formerly of MHRA, and Stewart McTavish from Ideaspace at Cambridge University.

All five teams took turns to present to the judges who were very impressed by the standard on the day given the short time to develop their concepts and pitches. Following a lively discussion in the ‘judges huddle’, two teams led by Amit Agrawal of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Gita Moghaddam of Cambridge University were declared joint winners on the day and offered the opportunity to pitch their ideas direct to the Medtech Accelerator Awards Committee at their next panel meeting.

The day finished with a reminder to all the teams to take advantage of the support on offer from Health Enterprise East, the Eastern AHSN and the Medtech Accelerator to take their ideas to improve healthcare. Thank you to all those who were part of the event and to our sponsors Marks & Clerk and Jaltek for their support.

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