Inventor: Nawar al-Zebari, Chemical Engineering & Urologic
Mentor: John Mullett

Urinary catheters are the most widely-used long-term medical device. 26% of all hospitalised patients will be given a urinary catheter and 40% of those patients will acquire a urinary tract infection (UTI). Many (but not all) of these patients will be elderly or disabled, or unable to move normally following an operation. The NHS alone spends £2.8 billion per year treating UTIs.

The inventor aims to reduce this high proportion of UTIs in catheterised patients with a new type of device that is designed to tackle UTIs and incontinence and immobility in a different way to a traditional catheter. He is currently designing his first prototype device, based on his experience and academic research. Traditional catheters are very simple devices which do not drain the bladder well. Several research teams around the world have tried to improve the design in various ways.

The i-Team will need to investigate the current market and approach for urinary catheters by conducting interviews with lead clinicians and relevant industry experts. For example, what coatings are used already to reduce UTIs, and do clinicians see these as effective? What designs or alternative treatments are used to reduce infections in catheters? What approaches are currently being used in hospitals and other clinical settings to reduce UTIs? Is this a problem that is seen to be important? Using the results of those interviews, the i-Team will then need to recommend a market adoption approach to the inventor, looking at who he will need to convince to use his invention, how best to reach them, and whether there are particular patient groups or types of clinical setting which are most in need of a new solution.