An innovative approach to stoma wear

22 October 2018 – Cambridge Design Partnership is delighted to be working with an innovative young designer to turn an award-winning healthcare idea into reality.

CDP will be working with industrial designer Stephanie Monty, whose family’s struggles with Crohn’s disease have led her to invent better, more beautiful, appliances for people with a stoma. 

A stoma is an opening made in the abdomen, normally as a result of bowel disease, cancer or trauma. This diverts waste output into an external bag (colostomy or ileostomy bag), which the patient must wear all day, every day.

Stephanie has just won a major grant to create an ostomy product that is so attractive and empowering it can be worn openly on the beach with swimwear.

“This clever, thoughtful design will give colostomy bag wearers the choice of a product that is good-looking as well as functional,” says Wade Tipton, partner at CDP and the company’s Head of Manufacturing and Quality. “We are absolutely thrilled that Stephanie has chosen CDP to help bring this wonderful idea to fruition.”

In July 2017 Stephanie’s company, Ostique, gained significant funding from Innovate UK to take the product to market. She has chosen Cambridge Design Partnership to help her achieve that goal.

“When I met the team at CDP, I was impressed not only by their knowledge and professionalism but also by their passion and enthusiasm,” she explains.

CDP will now work with Stephanie over the next year to develop her concepts into works-like and use-like models to support user trials. Along the way we’ll create detailed requirements documents and design specifications, support Ostique’s risk management process, and develop key manufacturing methods to enable Stephanie to bring her invention to manufacture.

“We are starting with Stephanie’s design idea and helping to develop her vision based on user research” says Matt Schumann, founding partner of CDP. “Our aim is for Ostique to meet users’ needs and aspirations while fulfilling all the regulatory requirements of a Class 1 medical device and being cost-effective to manufacture.”

“Here at CDP, we plan to make a series of prototypes in our workshops to test and refine the concept further. We will then create samples for a hospital-based clinical trial under our ISO 13485 quality system.”

“Future plans could include working with Stephanie to complete the documentation package needed to meet the Government’s medical device regulations and help her develop a supply chain to take Ostique into volume manufacture.”

Stephanie, 29, was inspired to set up Ostique due to illness within her own family. “Both my father and my two younger brothers have Crohn’s Disease,” she explains. “It runs in my family and, with my own marriage planned for next year, I am also thinking of my own future children too.”

“Crohn’s is a chronic bowel disease that can lead to patients having a stoma and needing to wear a colostomy bag to catch waste outside their body. At the time I was planning my final design project at Brunel University in 2015, my brother Adam was particularly unwell and was facing the prospect of having a colostomy bag himself.”

“He was in his early 20s, in a relationship with his now wife, and of course the prospect was shocking. As I looked into what wearing a colostomy bag would mean for him, I thought to myself, there has got to be a way of improving on this design. I created the new range of innovative products myself, with designs based on the idea of a tattoo or lingerie. I would literally be baking the silicone prototypes at home in my oven.”

“This funding grant from Innovate UK is the game-changer I needed. My dream is to see Ostique on the shelves of Boots one day. I hope that people will be able to pick up a designer Ostique product along with their mascara and deodorant when they are planning a night out.”

Ostique is designed as a special-occasion appliance, particularly created for sunbathing, swimming or intimacy. It has a lower capacity than current products and can be worn for up to six hours. Stephanie first developed the idea of an innovative ostomy product in 2015 during her degree in Industrial Design and Technology at Brunel University. The silicone Ostique products are decorated with designs such as roses, lace and a skull. As well as being attractive and discreet, their functionality is improved too, with less noise during movement and enhanced deodorisation.

“I have spoken to numerous ostomates during my research and they say this product gives them hope,” says Stephanie. “Often, a colostomy bag can be a very difficult thing to come to terms with. Some people find it really difficult to be intimate with a new partner. I have spoken to one woman who had not left her house for two months since her operation, as she felt so worried and embarrassed.”

“My brother did not have to have a colostomy bag in the end but Crohn’s is a lifelong condition so the prospect never entirely goes away. There are around 200,000 people with colostomy bags in the UK and globally the numbers are rising as people get more access to health care.”

“What got me to thinking about the appearance of the design is that often, when people undergo a difficult or traumatic experience, they cheer themselves up by buying a new outfit, having a haircut or getting a tattoo. I want Ostique to be that special something for colostomy bag wearers. It looks good and they can wear one with pride, instead of having to feel embarrassed about it.”

“Ostique consists of embossed silicone covers which are reusable, paired with a disposable liner to collect the waste. The design challenges are huge, not only with the issues around adhesion to human skin but also making sure it doesn’t expand too much and become bulky and noticeable,” says Stephanie.

“We are very much looking forward to working on Ostique. It is an opportunity to treat ostomates as consumers as well as patients and an exciting innovation in healthcare,” says Wade Tipton.

“We hope to get the product ready to test by August 2019 and for it to be launching onto the market in the spring of 2020.”

CDP has a strong track record of bringing mass-use medical devices to the market. The company is a leading technology and product design partner and works with leading pharmaceutical and medical device companies around the world on their most important innovation programs.

“Our company aim is to improve lives through innovation and our work in healthcare makes a big impact,” says Wade Tipton.

Other partners in the development of Ostique are the charity Bowel & Cancer Research and University Hospital Birmingham.

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