Calgary doctor, entrepreneur scores finalist spot in international innovation competition
Dr. Breanne Everett makes smart shoes that can prevent injuries to diabetics' feet
A Calgary doctor and entrepreneur is a finalist in a prestigious U.K. innovation forum, for her business idea that helps prevent damage to the feet of people with diabetes.
Dr. Breanne Everett is a top 12 finalist in the Pitch@Palace Commonwealth Competition, which means she'll be able to pitch her innovative medical technology to an international audience of entrepreneurs, tech experts, media representatives and investors at St. James' Palace in London.
Everett is the CEO and founder of Orpyx, a company that makes wearable tech that measures foot pressure and gait for diabetics, to prevent issues that can come with a lack of nerve sensitivity in their feet.
"I was so interested in the opportunity to fix this really big problem that there wasn't an effective solution for," she told Russell Bowers on Daybreak Alberta.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/orpyxinc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@orpyxinc</a> is revolutionising diabetes care with a system that delivers targeted advice to patients to manage and prevent diabetic foot ulcers and amputation. <a href="https://t.co/d9kpHBwHcn">pic.twitter.com/d9kpHBwHcn</a>—@pitchatpalace
She was the only Canadian to qualify for the competition, which has the theme of "Human Tech — Benefits for Humanity."
Everett said she has a clinical background, and in the course of her training she saw many patients that had contact wounds and ulcers on their feet.
"I just found myself frustrated by the fact that we never addressed the underlying problem with complex wounds, which is that most people with diabetes actually lose sensation in their feet," she said.
"It's a complication of the disease. And with that loss of sensation, they can't perceive pain properly … they can wear holes in the bottom of their feet the way someone might wear a hole in a sock."
One in five of those wounds lead to amputation, Everett said.
The idea behind the technology is that the shoe's insole can sense what the patient themselves no longer can.
"You can get ahead of the problem and prevent these really dreadful complications before they happen," she said.
Everett said the company completed a randomized controlled trial recently that found the product could reduce the formation of wounds by 71 per cent.
She said its felt incredible to see the impact the sensors have had on patients.
"That's what makes it all worth it, is to see somebody at the end of the line actually benefiting from the technology and the difference it makes on their lives."
Winners and runners-up of the competition will be selected by audience vote after they pitch their ideas on April 16.
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With files from Daybreak Alberta