A NSW Government website


Biodesign Sydney tackles real life health needs

Team creates medical device to aid dialysis patients.

Four people standing together; one holding a device
SydneyConnect Image: Dia-line team

A team who designed a medical device to improve the health of dialysis patients has won the inaugural Biodesign Sydney challenge led by Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney.

The team created a 3D printed prototype for a tool called Dia-line.

“This device will allow dialysis patients to easily and safely connect the dialysis line to their catheter line,” the team’s leader, Rebecca Chen, an Associate Lecturer in Oral Health Therapy at Sydney Dental School said.

“It’ll reduce the risk of infection and improve health outcomes for patients,” she said.

The team worked with nurses and patients in RPA’s Outpatient Dialysis Unit to identify a real life health need that could be solved during the District’s six-month Biodesign Sydney challenge.

Sydney is the first LHD in New South Wales to pilot the hands-on training program for aspiring biomedical innovators and entrepreneurs. It aims to foster the development of new technologies in the health care sector.

“The four multidisciplinary teams had to identify an unmet clinical need and create an innovative solution,” Professor Paul Young, Chair of Commercialisation in the Faculty of Medicine and Health and Director of Biodesign Sydney, said.

The teams were immersed in RPA’s Cardiology, Community Health and Chronic Care, Emergency and Renal departments.

The team members also attended weekly workshops about the medical device development process, patents, regulatory strategy, intellectual property, business and funding basics and start-up marketing.

The winning team comprised of associate lecturer Rebecca Chen from Sydney Dental School, engineer Leon Frylinck from McMillen Jacobs Associates, research associate Emily Neo from the Sydney Business School and Michael Sullivan, a PhD candidate at the Science Faculty at the University of Sydney.

They will receive three months support from the Sydney Knowledge Hub at The University of Sydney to further develop their device.

The concepts developed by the other teams were:

  • a sensor to aid in the prevention of diabetic foot ulcers
  • a headset to diagnose, monitor and treat sleep apnoea
  • a platform to improve communication between ED doctors and on-call specialists

“The program has been a great success. I am astounded by the quality and the viability of all of the innovations pitched,” Professor Young said.

The Executive Director of Sydney Research, Adjunct Associate Professor Vicki Taylor, was a member of the judging panel which chose the winning concept.

“It’s important to embed a culture of innovation and curiosity at all levels of the health care system.

“Innovation that’s driven by patient need is crucial to improving services to ensure patients and their families receive the best care possible,” she said.

Biodesign Sydney is part of a national initiative, Biodesign Australia. It’s based on the biodesign innovation process developed by the Stanford Byers Centre for Biodesign.

The program was delivered in partnership with The University of Sydney, IDE Group, Cicada Innovations, University of Technology Sydney, Accelerating Australia, MTP Connect, The Woolcock Institute and the Medical Technology Association of Australia.

You can learn more about the program at www.Biodesign.Sydney

The program will return in June 2020.