Anaesthetist develops ‘smarter epidural’ to win clinical innovation award

17 Dec 2012

Dr Peter Lee, a consultant anaesthetist with Cork University Hospital, who won the 2012 Clinical Innovation Award

Dr Peter Lee, a consultant anaesthetist with Cork University Hospital, has won a clinical innovation award after developing a solution to improve the delivery of epidurals. Lee is now set to work with the US medical centre Cleveland Clinic on the commercial feasibility of the solution, in addition to Enterprise Ireland.

Lee won the 2012 Clinical Innovation Award, now in its second year, which is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland in alliance with Cleveland Clinic.

He collaborated with researchers at University College Cork via its biomedical design module to come up with an improved epidural solution. The aim was to develop a simple, cost-effective and globally applicable solution to tackle the problems associated with administering epidurals.

Lee will receive a grant of €15,000 and the opportunity to work with Cleveland Clinic and Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial feasibility of his idea.

The purpose of the Clinical Innovation Award is to tap into Ireland’s clinical community, with the goal of developing new healthcare products and services.

Chris Coburn, executive director, Cleveland Clinic Innovations, said the clinic is looking forward to working with Lee to develop the commercial potential for his idea.

“We are excited about this simple but elegant solution to the problems associated with epidural delivery,” said Coburn.

“We can offer Dr Lee access to a broad range of users to get feedback on adoption factors around this innovation and accelerate its progress to the market,” he added.

Dr Keith O’Neill, director of life science and food commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland, said there were 30 applications from the clinical community in Ireland for the award, a 50pc increase on last year.

“We believe that engaging with the clinical community will improve the opportunities for our indigenous medical-technologies sector, resulting in new products and services that can lead to jobs,” he said.

There were also two runners-up in the awards: Dr Sean Dinneen, a consultant endocrinologist with the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group, and Seamus Morris, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in the Adelaide, Meath and UPMC Beacon hospitals.

The two clinicians will receive feasibility funding from Enterprise Ireland to investigate the commercial potential of their ideas. is hosting Med Tech Focus, an initiative which over coming months will cover news, reports, interviews and videos, documenting Ireland’sleading role in one of the hottest sectors in technology.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic