Smart walking aids – preparing their route to clinical adoption
Following the development of our Smart Walker technology, this project aimed to:
a) Develop visualizations of our stability outcome measure, so it can be easily understood by both, clinicians and patients, and investigate potential applications in the NHS and social care environments.
b) Identify suitable commercial partners.
c) Investigate the NHS market size and the relevant purchasing and prescription processes within the NHS, with regard to the issuing of walking aids.
This project successfully produced a first visualization of quantitative outcome measures from Smart Walkers that inform on stable use of walking aids in a way that appeals to clinicians. The work also highlighted that in principle clinicians can engage well with the proposed technology. The work has further connected us to NRS Healthcare with whom we now have a Knowledge Transfer Partnership funded by Innovate UK. Finally, the project produced a wealth of data around the significant market size of walking aids and details of prescription/procurement processes, highlighting the problem of returned equipment, and the current reliance on clinical experience in the prescription process, and that “ongoing training and assessment of the patient with their walking aid(s) is both essential and open to improvement”. The outcomes of this project informed our follow-on bids for future funding, one of which started in November 2020 (Knowledge Transfer Partnership with NRS Healthcare, ongoing).
Funding: Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (2018)