‘PeePod’ wins national award for Newcastle Hospitals

A new medical device developed at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust to help men who suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms, is in line for a prestigious national award.

A team of Clinical Scientists from Newcastle Hospitals was chosen as one the winners of this year’s National Continence Care Awards. Michael Drinnan, Alison Bray and Mike Whitaker from the Trust will travel to the House of Commons on 6 May to receive the award at a special event.

The Trust’s award-winning project was based on the ‘PeePod’ - a disposable urine flowmeter that patients can use in their own home.

Lower urinary tract symptoms affect a third of men, and symptoms include the need to visit the toilet very frequently and very urgently, which can have a detrimental effect on quality of life. Many patients are disturbed during the night, and some feel unable to leave the house for fear of incontinence.

The PeePod is an inexpensive, highly portable device that can be used by patients in their own home to test urine flow without embarrassment. It records every flow rate for up to two weeks and develops a ‘bladder diary’ to assess the pattern of toilet visits.

The device is extremely easy to operate and there are no computers, nothing to write down and no buttons to press.

Michael said: “The PeePod helps to overcome issues associated with the traditional urine flow assessment which involves coming into hospital for tests. This can be unpleasant and challenging for any man with urinary problems, but in many cases the single urine flow test is the only measurement of urinary function before surgery or other treatment.

“The PeePod helps us to better understand the natural variability of a patient’s habits over a period of time, and tells us how the pattern of toilet visits affects the patient’s day-to-day life.

“We believe this patient-centred and dignified approach will reform the assessment of lower urinary tract symptoms, and remove the awkwardness and embarrassment of the testing done in clinics.”

Newcastle Hospitals received funding support for the PeePod from the Wellcome Trust, and completed the development of the instrument last year.

Preliminary clinical assessments demonstrated positive impacts in a number of areas. We showed that by taking 50 or more recordings from each man in his home, errors are about three times smaller than in the clinic. The PeePod also gives more reliable and more representative measurements on which to base treatment decisions.

The Trust has just started a larger trial at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, and given the early success of the device, we are planning a large-scale investigation with primary care colleagues.

In 2014, the PeePod will be available for hospitals, clinics and primary care practitioners to buy, meaning that men across the UK, the EU and beyond could have access to the dignified assessment of urinary tract symptoms that they deserve.

The team worked with a number of colleagues across Newcastle Hospitals to develop the project, including: Physicist, Clive Griffiths and Jennifer Caffarel; and Urologists Rob Pickard and Chris Harding.

More information

For more details about the PeePod and the National Continence Care Award, please contact Michael Drinnan on 0191 213 7161.

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