Year/Course: 2017-2018
Project type: Medical

Contacts: Dr. Tim Baker, Speciality Registrar & Dr. Vilas Navapurkar, Consultant in Intensive Care, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Mentor: Clara Aranda-Jan

Admission onto an intensive care unit (ICU) is one of the most frightening lifetime experiences a patient or their relative can have. Research has shown that an inability to communicate is the most distressing and frustrating part of being critically ill on an ICU.

Most patients that are critically ill require artificial ventilation, often for prolonged periods of time whilst awake. Ventilation is facilitated by an artificial airway, which stops vocal cords from working and therefore the ability to talk is removed.

Patients are often too weak to be able to write and trying to mouth words to get their message across frequently leads to misunderstanding, and can be incredibly frustrating for patients, relatives and staff.

In order to improve the patients’ experience, and reduce their chances of experiencing PTSD following a stay in ICU, Dr. Navapurkar and Dr. Tim Baker have developed an app called MyICUVoice which is designed as a communications interface between patients and their families and hospital staff.

MyICUVoice is:

  • A communication interface
  • An integrated daily symptom survey
  • Adaptive to make most frequently-used items readily available
  • Designed to be used effectively by co-morbid patients
  • Able to track clinical progress graphically
  • Providing a unique symptom database

The questions for the i-Teams will include investigating how best to make the app available to patients in more hospitals and more countries, and also looking at other types of patients that might benefit from the app’s capabilities. To do this they will conduct interviews with relevant industry experts, including commercial organisations, medical experts and relevant charities and patient representative groups.

[Some of this text has been previously used in a press release by the Addenbrookes Charitable Trust, who have helped fund the development of MyICUVoice]