Design Reality

Arab Health, Dubai 2019: A showcase of futuristic ambition in healthcare

At the end of last month, the team flew out to Dubai to attend one of the biggest healthcare events and conferences, Arab Health From 160 countries 84,000 visitors attended including healthcare professionals, government ministers and medical manufacturers, all to get together to discover the latest medical innovations and discuss important topics at the forefront of healthcare today.

For us, we were struck by two overarching themes from the event: one was the futuristic ambition of the healthcare sector, and the limitless potential this can bring in coming years with new innovations that will change the face of healthcare today; two is how vital the user experience is in the development of every product or service.

One area of the event which was alive with innovation was the Innovation Hub. This was the place for start-ups, SMEs and innovators to display and demonstrate their products to decision makers and future shapers. Packed with Industry 4.0 technology it covered areas such as Artificial Intelligence, health monitors, smart medical devices and telemedicine platforms, showcasing innovative product design.

One such example was Smart Health iD, a project by the UAE Government which stores medical history, allergies and medication on an individual’s health card. Data can then be accessed immediately for speedy diagnostics and accurate treatment. As well as using sensor technology to capture the relevant data, which is in line with developing Industry 4.0 technology, this innovation is a great example of a product that puts user experience at the forefront.

A number of companies were also showcasing at-home medical treatment devices, increasingly in demand due to an ageing population and limitations on public health services. The ability of such devices to offset these demands providing solutions for at home medical treatment demonstrate a move towards New Hospital 2.0 in the home. These devices provide data directly to the patient or a medical professional and can be cost effective for healthcare providers and provide more comfort for patients carrying out treatment in their home.

One example of an at-home medical treatment is the Re.Flex physiotherapy device with supporting app that allows patients to finish their last stages of physical rehabilitation at home, with the device using motion tracking sensors to monitor progress and supervise recovery. Clinicians can monitor a patient’s progress and intervene or provide feedback and modifications as treatment continues.

At-home devices can be particularly appealing for patients with personal health matters. One such device is ExSeed Health, which will analyse sperm samples at home in a few minutes all in-app. This avoids costly and time-consuming fertility testing treatment for those looking to start a family. Another is, Carin, to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Carin’s smart underwear uses a combination of smart textiles, Bluetooth sensors and tailored exercise programmes to aid women in re-training weak muscles, encouraging daily rehabilitation without extensive gaps between professional treatment.

The trend for at-home devices are seen amongst our own customers to aid speed of recovery and provide accessibility to professional expertise and equipment throughout all stages of the medical rehabilitation and treatment cycle. This is the case with Swellaway and the ground-breaking Swellaway Pro that treats musculoskeletal injuries. Swellaway Pro offers controlled compression combined with cooling and heating peltiers in a fully portable device.

The event also showcased new uses/applications for materials. Company’s such as OrthoHeal have created custom made casts out of the latest in plastics technology to provide personalised protection throughout the healing process for sprains and breaks, customised in a matter of minutes.  The photo-sensitive resin casts were exposed to UV and then  formed directly around the individual in a matter of minutes - much faster than the traditional plaster casting process.  This medical design solution also allows the patient’s skin to breathe and medical professionals to be able to view the limb throughout the healing process, without having to remove the cast unnecessarily.

We too have seen first-hand the benefits that additive manufacturing can provide to businesses.  3D printing has opened doors for a range of medical companies to providing customised or low volume solutions, quickly and affordably. Clients such as  Endo Reality use additive manufacturing  in the production of realistic training teeth for endodontic training.

We’ve looking forward to attending numerous events over the coming months, so we look forward to seeing you there or if you’re looking for some support to design your medical device or clinical solution in the meantime, speak to our healthcare design team.