Category Archives: Health Technology

Embracing Accessibility in Agile Workflows

The design and implementation of accessible features has long been a bugbear for designers and developers alike. That’s not surprising – the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) committee have done a great job of obfuscating the task of delivering inclusive designs.

Take a look at the WCAG 2.0 website. Wade through it. Attempt to make sense of it. It’s labyrinthine! Don’t have to take my word for it either. As an A List Apart article put it:

“the fundamentals of WCAG 2 are nearly impossible for a working standards-compliant developer to understand”.

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A physio in your pocket

By Navraj S Nagra and Maxime Cox

Knee replacement is regarded as one of the most sucessful medical interventions (1); over a hundred-thousand knee replacements were performed across the UK last year (2). This number is ever-increasing in the context of an ageing population (2). Whilst knee replacement is undoubtedly effective, a key and often variably implemented part of rehabilitation is the subsequent physiotherapy (3).

Current physiotherapy provision has several problems. Firstly, it is expensive (4). Secondly, there is a shortage of physiotherapists in the NHS. Models have shown that an extra 500 physiotherapists need to join the workforce each year just to keep track with demand (5). As a result, patients will only see a physiotherapist once or twice after a knee replacement. Thirdly, a significant proportion of patients have poor compliance to physio (6).
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Using mother nature to inspire the next generation of medical implants and devices

by Dr. Gavin Hazell

Medical devices are ubiquitous in modern medicine. Devices range from simple catheters to artificial cardiac devices and complex materials that can replace our own joints. Contemporary surgical procedures have revolutionised our approach to joint replacement with 160, 000 total hip and knee replacement procedures performed each year in England and Wales. Medical implants have seen a rapid expansion in use which has been facilitated by technological advances and reduced manufacturing costs. Today, these devices profoundly impact patient quality of life and disease outcome.

However, all of these devices suffer from a major weakness. They are susceptible to bacterial colonisation, which leads to a medical device associated infection. Once bacteria adhere to the surface of an implant they grow and proliferate until a dense bacterial film resides on the surface, known as a biofilm. The presence of such a bacterial layer leads to the failure of the medical device and puts the patient at risk of sepsis and death.

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