IPEM Innovation Gold Medal for clinical entrepreneur


A CLINICAL entrepreneur has been awarded IPEM’s Innovation Gold Medal.

Dr Darren Hart, an IPEM member, was awarded the medal for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of healthcare innovation resulting in translation into clinical practice.

Dr Hart is a Clinical Scientist and clinical entrepreneur in the medical physics and bioengineering department at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

His background is in electronic engineering, starting his career at Salisbury District Hospital collaborating with a team that formed the first NHS-owned spin-out company to develop functional electrical stimulation technology.

'Support and inspiration'

Dr Hart said: ‘I am delighted to be recognised as an innovator in our profession and the wider NHS workforce. New ways to help address the healthcare challenges around us need to be explored, nurtured and celebrated, and I have been extremely fortunate to work with many brilliant patients, colleagues and mentors who have helped to do this. This award would not have been possible without each of them, thank you all!

‘My Trust, IPEM’s innovation grant, the National School for Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowship and the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme have been fantastic sources of support and inspiration which I cannot thank or recommended more highly. Innovation is part of all NHS roles and it is great that Clinical Scientists and technologists have such excellent support in this.’

Dr Anna Barnes, IPEM’s President, said: ‘Huge congratulations to Darren on winning this award. Innovation is at the heart of the NHS to help deliver benefits to patients and Darren has demonstrated this time and time again throughout his career.

‘This award is not only well deserved but recognises the vital and valuable contribution healthcare scientists like Darren make to the NHS on a daily basis.’

Fracture service

Dr Hart developed a database tool to enable participation in the national Fracture Liaison Service Database project. This tool has enabled the RUH to participate with the national project and consistently be amongst the highest three national identifiers of patients at potential risk of fracture. Since its introduction in 2018 it has helped to identify more than 15,000 patients and assisted staff in providing best care to them. The tool has been shared with other NHS Trusts, been presented nationally and is currently being redeveloped by the RUH IT team to facilitate longer-term support and integration with other electronic patient management systems.

Over the years, Dr Hart has gained funding from IPEM for electrophysiological measurement teaching aids, which he has used at various STEM events and in his undergraduate medical physics lectures at the University of Bath. He is a member of the RUH Innovation Panel and leads on multiple local service improvements as a specialist in healthcare technology.

He is the technical lead for a Sensory Training System for pain therapy, advancing this from a proof of principle to a third-generation device, receiving more than £150,000 in funding and gaining approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for clinical investigation of it.

Innovation Fellowship

He was one of the first healthcare scientists to gain a National School for Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowship. The resulting project led to funding of £35,000 from Hospice UK and is enabling a local Dorothy House Hospice to offer virtual reality to patients receiving end of life care. Alongside this, Dr Hart formed a team and led a successful £30,000 funding bid to Health Education England for the first RUH Trust-wide patient safety campaign using virtual reality.

In 2021 he gained a place on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme to support his ambition of establishing an Immersive Technology within Healthcare group, with the team recently winning a RUH Innovation and Research award. This has created new collaborative links with local and national partners.

Dr Hart is the fifth recipient of the Innovation Gold Medal since it was introduced in 2017, and follows in the footsteps of Dr David Gow CBE, Professor Dan Clark (former IPEM Vice President International), Professor Andy Beavis and Dr Bill Thomson.

IPEM Prizes and Awards