Tim Saw, an Anaesthetist working in Ayr Hospital contacted SHIL to help him develop his idea to produce a dressing that was specifically for the groin area.
What was the clinical need?
Injuries around the perineal, scrotal, coccygeal, anal or vulval area of a patient are very difficult to dress. Typically, injuries within these areas are dressed using a “T-bandage”. The “T-bandage” however, is considered by professionals, to be difficult to apply, inefficient as they frequently do not stay in place and uncomfortable for the patient to wear. Where dressings are specific to the testis of male patients, a “jock strap” can be used as an alternative. “Jock straps” are available in a range of sizes and when used properly exert pressure to prevent haemostasis. The problems typically found with jockstraps however, include, selecting the correct size for a particular patient and applying the dressing while the patient is less mobile or even unconscious.
It became apparent that a more efficient dressing was required for around the perineal, scrotal, coccygeal, anal and vulval areas of both male and female patients including both adults and children. In particular it is apparent that there is a requirement for a dressing that is easy to use on patients that are less mobile or even unconscious.
The U-Net® dressing comprises a panel and waist band. The panel comprises a length of material universally shaped to fit both a male and female perineal, scrotal, coccygeal, anal and vulval area typically from the anterior to the posterior waist positions. The panel is a mesh material suitable for medical use. The purpose of is the mesh material is to provide visibility when inspecting any dressings placed between the panel and the patient, ventilation and be quick drying. The mesh material is detachable from the waist band and is easy to apply even to unconscious patients.
How did SHIL help?
SHIL worked with Dr Saw to develop his idea into a product. When he came to SHIL he had drawings and a mock up of the innovation. SHIL worked with him to create a commercial product from his ideas.
1. Establishing the Market and the Clinical Demand
SHIL assessed the concept and confirmed that there was a clinical need for such a product. Data was collated to justify the potential market size and research was carried out to identify any potential competitors. Based on the market research SHIL opted to move forward with the development of the product.
2. Selecting development partners
SHIL then identified a local orthopaedic company who worked with SHIL to design a prototype based on Dr Saw’s initial requirements. Once functional prototypes were created, feedback on the product was sought from other professionals who would use the product. Based on this minor adjustments were made and SHIL continued with the development process.
3. Protecting the idea
In order to protect the idea SHIL registered the design on behalf of NHS Ayrshire and Arran. As Mr Saw was an NHS Ayrshire employee, any IP developed in the course of his work duties belongs to his employers. However a share of any revenue generated does go back to the inventor (see IP section for further information).
SHIL licensed the finished product to the same company that manufactured the initial designs.
5. Product launch
In 2006 the product was launched on to the market. Initial sales were promising. Plans are now underway to re-launch the product in 2009 with a medical device company for the purpose of targeting new markets.