Portfolio 3: Medical Technology – home and community care

p3 heroThe research

syringesPortfolio 3 will create and implement integrated technology-based solutions for patient-centric, personalised, home or community treatment of chronic disease.

The solutions will use advanced technologies to address key issues in measurement, management, and monitoring. This will enable the devolution of safe, effective care to the patient in their home or community to more optimally use clinical resources and improve patient outcomes. This is a systems solution approach in which each element in isolation may not necessarily make a significant impact.

The MedTech sector in New Zealand is strong, although many companies are small and there is considerable need for capacity development to link researchers, clinicians, health organisations and businesses.

Healthcare costs are driven by ageing populations multiplied by the exponential growth of chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma, and cardiovascular disease that each consume 0.5-1.0% of GDP.

Type 2 diabetes

We have chosen Type 2 diabetes and its control via insulin management as our first spearhead project within this research portfolio, as well as to create a template to attack other chronic diseases. Type 2 diabetes is one of the leading chronic diseases in terms of numbers affected and  large social and economic costs and impact.

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This spearhead project offers an opportunity for New Zealand to create next-generation care systems that integrate sophisticated point-of-care medical sensors and delivery systems with mobile communications, personalised physiological modelling, and novel medical informatics and monitoring.

Direct benefits include development of novel devices and systems for care. Medical devices that provide better care and reduce total costs will find ready markets in a multi-billion dollar global device market.


The key technology research areas are:

  • measurement – advanced point-of-care sensing and drug/therapy delivery
     
  • management – patient-specific modelling to provide better drug or treatment dosing that allows patients to provide expert, patient-centric care
     
  • monitoring – advanced informatics and ICT linking measurement and management to automated monitoring algorithms, and eventually to clinical oversight, to improve productivity and to direct clinical resources to those most in need when they need it.

The team

Portfolio 3 leader – Geoff Chase

  • Dr Volker Nock. University of Canterbury and MacDiarmid Institute - advanced sensing
     
  • Dr Andrew Taberner. University of Auckland - needle-free sensing and delivery
     
  • Dr Chris Pretty. University of Canterbury - model-based management and decision support
     
  • Dr Bryan Ruddy. University of Auckland - needle-free sensing and delivery
     
  • Dr Soroush Safaei. University of Auckland - advanced modelling and analysis
     
  • Professor Peter Hunter. University of Auckland - advanced modelling and analysis.

The team will pull in additional sensing expertise from the Dodd-Walls Photonics Institute (University of Otago), informatics and health ICT from the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), design research from Victoria University, and modelling expertise from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, among others.

Clinical input will come from relationships with the Canterbury District Health Board, Lipids and Diabetes Research Group (University of Otago, Edgar National Diabetes Centre - University of Otago), Auckland District Health Board and University of Auckland Medical School.