The Institute has launched nine courses aimed at equipping students, businesses, community-based health and social care professionals, carers and consumers with the skills to design better products and services for the healthcare sector and make full use of assistive technology. It will also support businesses in designing products and services to improve community healthcare and manage health at home, aided by the latest diagnostic tools, monitoring devices and assistive technology.
The initial outlay for the building is being funded by a £4.5 million grant from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands. Operation of the Institute is being supported by a £3.6 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to be followed by a further £10 million over the next 10 years.
HDTI director Simon Fielden said the Institute would support the Department of Health’s objective to transfer care from hospital to the home. “Our focus is on developing assistive technologies for the patient, rather than medical devices for surgical intervention or use in hospital settings, which sets us apart from existing initiatives in the region,” he said. “Our areas of activity will include building and vehicle adaptations, walking aids and wheelchairs, consumer health products, and eHealth developments such as remote monitoring. This approach is very much aligned to the University’s traditional strengths in nursing, the allied health professions and product design.”
The new three-story building will include space for fledgling businesses to get up and running, a demonstration area where companies and users can trial their products and services, and offices for applied research. “The European medical device sector is worth €55.2 billion but the UK has so far failed to capitalise on the economic potential,” Mr Fielden said. “The HDTI represents a tremendous opportunity for partnership with business enterprises, health and social services and, most importantly, patients. This will create jobs in the region and provide improved products and services to the end user. We hope to make life better for people coping with long-term conditions in their own home and increase the independence of disabled and older people.”
The HDTI has teamed up with 20 industry partners including Procter & Gamble, GE Healthcare, Age Concern Enterprises, Lloyds Pharmacy, Medilink West Midlands and MidTECH NHS Innovations.
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