Children and innovators solve problems together

TITCH imageChildren, parents and healthcare professionals took part in a unique Children’s Health Innovation Day in Leeds on Saturday 25th June.
The Dr Moon’s Inventing Room event was organised by TITCH (Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health) in partnership with the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). It aimed to provide children and their parents with a unique opportunity to discuss the challenges that children and young people have with healthcare professionals, academics and designers.

Using creative workshops involving everything from pens and paper to model building, event attendees were invited to design solutions to help improve self-care and independence for children with long term conditions.

Among the ideas put forward were:

  • A design for cup handles or cutlery that moulds to the shape of a child’s hand. This could be done with a pliable material that would maintain a rigid shape. Research would need to be undertaken to identify a suitable material
  • A lining for shoes to provide rigidity so that young people who require an orthopaedic shoe are able to wear any shoe
  • A bicycle with gyro wheels (wheels that change level with a hydraulic dependent upon change terrain) that could be pedal propelled or electric. This would provide stability for children who would have difficulty balancing, particularly on uneven ground

Richard Stubbs, Commercial Director at the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN said: “It has been really wonderful and very humbling to work with groups like this, getting children, families, commissioners and designers together to talk about how they can improve services for the better.”

Sophie Bates, Commercial Partnerships and Projects Manager at the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, added: “The Children’s Health Innovation Day gave patients a valuable opportunity to have their views heard and to aid in the design of devices that could provide more independence and a better quality of life.”

Chris Brown, a parent, said: “The whole day has been very relaxed and, because of its format, we were able to come at problems from a different angle. It was good to see that it is not just the NHS but also private companies are wishing to give a better life for people with additional needs.”

Professor Paul Dimitri from TITCH said: “This has been a really exciting event that has brought together lots of people from different areas, especially the families. It puts a completely different slant on how we can address the problems faced by children with long term conditions.

“Our challenge is now to take these ideas and get the right people involved to create the technology needed to deliver them.”

John Callaghan, Project Manager at Damibu Ltd, said: “The Child Health Innovation Day in Leeds on Saturday was a fantastic event. It’s impossible to put a value on these opportunities for gathering insight and bettering our understanding of the issues young people face.

“I was fascinated when listening to the families who were so open and vocal in sharing their problems and the tools they need to solve them.

“It was particularly exciting to speak with people working in academia and manufacturing about the amazing new things happening in different industries. It was amazing that the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN could put together such an informative event with so much patient involvement.”

Matthew Tulley, Innovation Manager at Single Use Surgical Ltd., added: “It has been an interesting environment to talk with a wide group of people about problems and potential solutions.”

TITCH, which works with children’s hospitals nationally, will now review the work from the Children’s Health Innovation Day and determine ways in which some of the ideas may provide companies with work that could be funded by the recently announced Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) This has a focus on developing products to support self-care and independence in children.

More pictures are available here