IET holds successful first Think BIG Future Health & Life Science event

The topic for the event – the first of four due to take place across the UK this year - was Design and Evidence within Healthcare, focusing particularly on overcoming challenges relating to clinical validation, user experience and accessibility.

The format of the event consisted of several talks from experts - each one based on one of the above challenges – followed by roundtable workshops and feedback sessions. There were also several networking opportunities throughout the evening.

Aimed at engineers, technological innovators, scientists, clinicians,SMEs and start-up entrepreneurs,healthcare industry professionals and stakeholders as well as policy makers, the event attracted 110 delegates from a wide variety of backgrounds including academia,healthcare technology companies and the NHS. 66 per cent of attendees were male; 34 per cent were female.

The speakers

The first speaker was Prof. Sandy Cochran, Professor of Ultrasound Materials and Systems at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering. His subject of choice was ‘Device Design for Data’, including how the move towards data-driven healthcare could impact on traditional healthcare engineering practices.

Next up was Canon Medical Systems President Ken Sutherland, who talked about clinical decision making and collaboration between the University of Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on the application of advanced brain imaging techniques to aid the treatment of acute stroke diagnosis.

‘Navigating Clinical Validation in Today’s Regulatory Environment’ was the title of the talk from Chris Farrance, Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Median Technologies. Farrance spoke about the importance of good clinical validation and evidence gathering, as well as upcoming changes to the regulatory framework for medical devices.

Concluding the keynote session was Dr Paul Campbell, Clinical Director for eHealth at NHS National Services Scotland. Attendees heard about the current landscape in terms of user experience and where the sector would like to be, as well as how some healthcare providers are finding it challenging to achieve the desired levels of usability with some of their systems.

Workshop sessions

Delegates were then divided into workshop groups, where they discussed answers to questions based on the earlier talks, such as how to encourage clinicians to engage with design process and knowing how much information to present to a clinical users working in a high-pressure environment.

“The evening was a night to connect, to reflect, to learn and to share, and brought together a diverse group of people, all passionate and committed to supporting and addressing the challenges of present and future healthcare innovation,” said the IET’s Healthcare Lead Nury Moreira.

“The format of the event invited people to contribute towards finding a new way of bringing ideas together and it also provided the perfect opportunity to look at things differently.”

See also

A piece of supporting thought leadership was also published prior to the event and distributed to attendees on the evening. Written by Dr. Leo Poll, a member of the IET Healthcare Panel, ‘Design and Evidence - Does involving users slow down or speed up innovation?’ explores the relationship between users’ needs and engineering innovation in the healthcare space using examples taken from other technological areas. A downloadable PDF of the Design and Evidence article [PDF, 854KB] is available to read.

Our videos from the event are also available, featuring interviews with speakers and delegates.