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Putting the patient in the middle - part 1

We all know the role of engineers and clinicians in developing new innovations, but what about the patient? In this week’s podcasts, we will be looking at how patients can be involved in the development of medical innovations and how technologies can be designed for the intended users, the patients themselves. Our guests are Dr Elin Haf Davies and Dr Paul Wicks.

This week, we asked our guests:

  • Can you describe ways that engineers and technologists can involve patients in the design process of new solutions for healthcare?
  • What value does patient collected data bring that you don’t necessarily get from a hospital setting that’s been collected from a healthcare professional?
  • What are the risks if you don't include patients in your device testing activities?
  • How can engineers use and access groups that can help them avoid making bad decisions in any stage of the design process?

Meet our guests

Dr Paul Wicks

Paul Wicks, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and independent consultant in digital health, clinical trials, rare disease, and patient centricity. For 13 years he led the R&D team at PatientsLikeMe, an online community for over 750,000 people living with medical conditions.

Specialising in clinical research using the Internet, Paul shaped the scientific validity of the platform in generating insights from patient-generated health data, leading to over 110 studies including a patient-driven observational trial of lithium in ALS, numerous patient-reported outcome measures, a “dose-response” curve for the benefits of friendship between patients, and methods for patient-centred and virtual clinical trial designs.

He sits on the editorial boards of the BMJ, BMC Medicine, JMIR, Digital Biomarkers and The Patient.

Dr Elin Haf Davies

Dr Elin Haf Davies began her career as a Paediatric Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, moving into research and spending six years managing clinical and academic drug trials, in metabolic, neurology, endocrinology and pain.

She founded Aparito in 2015, a digital health company focused on developing patient-centric digital outcomes to support decentralised trials. She also serves as the Chair of Board of Trustees for Metabolic Support UK, a patient advocacy group supporting 400 rare inherited metabolic diseases.

In her free time, Elin has a passion for extreme adventure to raise money for charities close to her heart. In 2007-2008 she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, raising £190,000 for metabolic research at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This was followed with a world first rowing across the Indian Ocean as part of the first female team to ever compete the route.