Medtronic, a Minnesota-based US-listed medical technology giant with over 86,000 employees, is playing a major role in a MedTech project taking place in Manchester – the UK city region with an international reputation for healthcare innovation.
Supported by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and the UK’s Medical Research Council and funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the research is a collaboration between Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), The University of Manchester, Health Innovation Manchester, and global heart technology pioneer Medtronic.
With the largest clinical academic campus in Europe, Manchester is home to world-leading research and its digital health community is well-connected, with strong links between academia, health organisations and tech innovators.
The study with Medtronic is the first of its kind, and one of a series of specialist healthcare collaborations underway in the city.
Testing the power of data in the NHS
As part of the SmartHeart evaluation, risk-data from over 400 patients with Medtronic cardiac devices has been shown to identify patients at increased risk of adverse events, including hospitalisation and death.
Using remotely monitored health-data from the cardiac device (known as TriageHF), the study, published in Europace, reported a three-fold increase in the likelihood of mortality for patients who spent at least one day in high-risk status. Increased time spent in a high-risk status is associated with higher risk of mortality.
SmartHearts beyond Manchester
Dr Fozia Ahmed, Honorary Reader in Cardiovascular Sciences from The University of Manchester and Consultant Cardiologist at The Manchester Heart Centre at Manchester Royal Infirmary, part of MFT, said: “Remote monitoring capabilities of modern-day cardiac devices enables continuous monitoring of health-related data in the patients’ own homes. The data can help identify when there is a potentially significant shift in a patient’s clinical condition, helping to predict future adverse clinical events, such as hospitalisation and death.
“We believe this technology could be a game-changer in the management of cardiac patients, particularly those with heart failure. In Greater Manchester, based on the data from the research, we have been using device alerts, which notify the care team when a patient is detected by the device as ‘high-risk’, to prompt a telephone consultation with a specialist.
“The whole process from detection of a high-risk episode, through to assessment and follow-up is known as the TriageHF Plus care pathway – originally developed in Manchester, it is now being used more widely.”
An award-winning partnership
The Triage HF Plus pathway has been recognised in the Health Service Journal awards, with Medtronic UK, MFT and The Northern Care Alliance Group highly commended in the HealthTech Partnership of the Year category.
Kweli P. Thompson, M.D., MPH, general manager of the Defibrillation Solutions business at Medtronic, which has headquarters in Minneapolis, said: “The increased mortality identified in the evaluation justified the need for an industry and NHS collaboration in this space, to create a digital solution that aims to ensure that the high risk notifications are sent direct to heart care teams who can take action as clinically indicated, based on the health-related data from the patient’s device.”
In the UK, approximately 920,000 people have heart failure, and an estimated 2% of the annual healthcare budget is spent on heart and circulatory diseases.
Health innovation in Manchester
Greater Manchester has a long history of healthcare innovation – from introducing in vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment, to pioneering the first total hip replacement surgery and bionic eye implants.
The city region is leading innovation for its own healthcare services, as well as being a Global Digital Exemplar for the NHS. It is home to the Oxford Road Corridor, which is internationally renowned for innovation collaborations across a number of healthcare specialisms, including biomedical science, pharmaceuticals, precision medicine, clinical trials, Ehealth and medical devices.
During 2021, the University of Manchester, in partnership with Health Innovation Manchester, MFT, and other partners, launched the multimillion-pound Christabel Pankhurst Institute. It supports some of the latest healthcare collaborations with business around digital health and advanced materials.
Tim Newns, Chief Executive of MIDAS, an organisation which assists businesses that are expanding or establishing a base in Greater Manchester, said: “Manchester is an internationally recognised hub for health innovation and also one of the leading digital centres in Europe, thus creating excellent convergence opportunities in digital health that companies such as Medtronic can leverage.”
Collaboration success stories
As the UK’s Top Digital Tech City, Manchester is known for digital health and social care collaborations. One social care tech company that has seen success in Manchester is Safe Steps – a digital care homes risk assessment tool, which has been rolled out across 332 care homes in the city region.
Lee Omar, Founder of Safe Steps: “The collaborative environment has allowed us to co-design, test and trial our product and roll it out at scale across Greater Manchester. Our unique commercial partnership with Health Innovation Manchester has been instrumental for scale up and adoption of Safe Steps. This has had a huge impact on older people and eased pressure on services. For us as a company it’s been extremely rewarding working within the progressive health tech business environment.”
Another recent success story is LumiraDx, the developer of a point of care diagnostic platform, who worked with MFT’s Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator (DiTA) in Manchester to facilitate the testing of its device.
DiTA – part of MFT’s Innovation Team and co-located within the Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone where Lumira are based alongside +200 high growth life science and tech businesses at Manchester Science Park – supports evidence generation for new in vitro diagnostics and medical technology, allowing rapid translation and adoption into the healthcare system. Its work with LumiraDx includes the ‘D-Dimer’ diagnostic point-of-care test, as well as COVID-19 diagnostics.
LumiraDx has gone on to secure a £6.7m agreement with NHS Scotland to roll out its COVID-19 diagnostic, while its work with DiTA continues to develop further diagnostic abilities of the device.
Supporting growth in Manchester
MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, provides free support, consultation and expertise to help healthcare businesses who are expanding in the city region or establishing a base there. Visit investinmanchester.com/digital-health for more information.