A new testing and evaluation centre to speed up the development of medical innovations by enabling them to be tested in a realistic environment using real clinical staff, officially opened its doors in Birmingham in January 2018.
Aston University is one of the partners involved in the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) which will provide a dedicated facility for small and medium-sized businesses to test and evaluate the usability of their technology without putting patients at risk.
The grand opening on 17 January of MD-TEC – based within the state-of-the-art Institute for Translational Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham – features a tour of the facilities and talks by key staff members, including a keynote speech.
The MD-TEC initiative, which is receiving up to £7.3m from the European Regional Development Fund, will boost the life science economy in the Greater Birmingham area. It’s aim is to accelerate the development of medical innovations by offering a range of support, including med-tech materials, and the facilities include purpose-built replicas of clinical areas such as hospital wards.
It will boost the growing regional reputation for medical device development, including collaboration with the NHS and academia, as well as the commercialisation of devices.
Liam Grover, Professor in Biomaterials Science at the University of Birmingham’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, will lead biomaterials development and Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Clinical Director of the NIHR Trauma Management Healthcare Technology Co-operative and Deputy Director of the ITM, will lead medical device usability and safety testing.
Professor James Wolffsohn, of Aston University’s Ophthalmic Research Group in the School of Life and Health Sciences, will provide expertise in human senses such as vision and hearing, while Dr Sinziana Popescu will work on the usability testing of medical devices.
Dr Clutton-Brock said: “The new Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre promises to be a game changer, in terms of ensuring medical devices are fit for purpose and successfully reach market faster. Evidence suggests that the majority of device related adverse incidents are user related, so it is crucial that usability testing is included in a device’s technical file.”
“Many devices undergo significant re-design after introduction into clinical practice, which is very costly to the life sciences industry. The centre will provide a dedicated test facility for med tech companies to test the usability of their technology in a realistic environment, using real clinical staff without placing patients at risk.”
Led by UHB, other key delivery partners are Aston University and University of Birmingham, with Birmingham City University, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust and the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network as supporting partners.