Wearable technology orthopaedic research shortlisted for national award

A project to support patients with their hip and knee replacement recovery using wearable technology has been shortlisted for a national innovation award.

The Orthopaedic Clinical Research team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia (UEA) Health Economics team have been shortlisted with Dynamic Metrics Ltd for the Collaborate to Innovate Awards.

The GaitSmart study ran at NNUH between 2020 and 2022 to develop and test a system to study mobility and improve a patient’s gait after a joint replacement.

The project was funded by the Innovate UK Digital Health Technology Catalyst. The GaitSmart device provides a standardised digital gait analysis to measure how patients walk and bespoke strengthening exercises after surgery to enable better rehabilitation.

The results from the trial showed that the intervention programme improved clinical outcomes and using the health economic model developed by Health Economics Consulting at UEA demonstrate a cost saving for the NHS. This data formed part of the guidance submission to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and has been published in the British Journal of Healthcare and Medical Research.

The project has been shortlisted in the Healthcare and Medical category of the The Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Awards, which will be held in February.

Professor Iain McNamara, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at NNUH, said: “Mobility is a fundamental aspect of healthy ageing and one of the few medical fields where technology is rarely used. We are delighted that this project is shortlisted for this national award, which has demonstrated how technology may improve patient care by enabling more patients to receive rehabilitation following surgery and free up physiotherapists for those who would benefit from one-to-one care the most. We are looking forward to seeing how this develops to help patients across the NHS.”

“It was great to work with in collaboration with Dynamic Metrics and UEA on this clinical trial and we are grateful to the participants who engaged with the study and were excited by the future potential for the technology both in rehabilitation and other aspects such as optimisation of pre operative care and evaluation of falls and frailty.”

Prof Ric Fordham, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We are proud to be aligned with GaitSmart – a really cost-effective, wearable device for elderly patients who often struggle to see or get sufficient resources from physiotherapists after a knee and or hip operation.

“Health Economics Consulting is UEA’s biggest, longest standing consulting group and its pre-trial modelling work – over several years based on small studies and real-world data, including that from patients – suggested it might be highly cost-effective.

“We are also supporting the process of NICE approval and Dynamic Metrics is now awaiting a final decision on roll out the technology to the whole of the NHS, saving it money and improving people’s lives.”


For more information

(I McNamara, C.E Whitehouse, N Ward, R Whalley, D Hodgins (2023). Pilot randomised trial using sensor data to personalise rehabilitation following joint replacement and compare to Standard of Care. British Journal of Healthcare and Medical Research. 10(5) DOI: https://doi.org/10.14738/bjhmr.105.15420)


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