“Is it an app?” ask interested parties when I tell them that my company is a medical innovator. No, our innovation is not an app. It does not connect with the ether or plug into your smartphone. But it is set to transform and even save lives around the world.

giovanna-forte-image

Forte Medical’s MedTech is low tech … and that’s the point at which interest wanes, for people want the tangible techie stuff, the next clever component of money-spinning technology … and urine simply does not tick that box.

Why am I so excited about pee? I’ll be honest, it’s because our medical device is set to change the lives of the millions who suffer from Chronic Urinary Tract Infection and other diseases that can be identified through a simple urine specimen. We know of novel urine tests for pancreatic, ovarian, cervical and other cancers that will rely on a decent urine specimen; we have heard of a company that has developed method of using biomarkers found in urine to assess and track the progress of cancer tumours. Goodbye biopsies!

All of this reinforces our belief that Peezy Midstream is poised to bring life-changing accuracy to both novel and established urine tests. It will facilitate highly targeted prescribing for conditions that historically attract unacceptable levels of broad spectrum antibiotic prescribing. But urine isn’t sexy; even the most diligent healthcare professional is prone to laugh, eyes raised heavenwards and say its only pee!

At its most basic, only pee is the window to human health; in days of yore, clinicians inspected it with their eyes and nose, for only pee can tell you instantly that something is amiss. Current methods of urine collection do nothing to protect the urine specimen from amassing bacteria that can mask the interesting stuff with a heavy mixed growth.

No-one expects a detective to accurately identify a crime through a dirty window, yet in this day and age it is still what we ask microbiologists to do every day … and it does not work. Inaccuracy leads to retesting, repeat appointments and a likely broad spectrum antibiotic prescription for the hapless patient.

Creating Peezy Midstream has revealed to me that healthcare systems all over the world are overlooking integrity around basic medicine in favour of smart stuff that they perceive to be more compelling, more high tech – more current.

Here’s the real currency: 65m urine specimens are taken annually in the NHS, yet every day up to 45,000 will be unreliable. Those patients cannot be accurately diagnosed and treated. That’s current enough for me and poses the question: if urine is taken for the same diagnostic reasons as blood why does it not enjoy any kind of protocol?

GIANT has invited me to share with you our journey; how against the odds we have created an overdue and valuable new medical device that in our age of chronic infections, spreading cancer, new diseases and antimicrobial resistance, is fit for purpose.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Giovanna is speaking at 9:00am on Friday 18th November 2016 at GIANT.