Home > All news > Waikato DHB and Callaghan Innovation join forces to speed up medical trials for the elderly.

Waikato DHB and Callaghan Innovation join forces to speed up medical trials for the elderly.

Waikato District Health Board and the government’s innovation agency Callaghan Innovation have teamed up to tackle the problem of slow clinical trials in medical technology aimed at the elderly.

Waikato District Health Board director of older persons and rehabilitation and allied health Barbara Garbutt said the project will build on research already happening at the Institute for Healthy Ageing.

“We aim to link evidence of best ways to improve care with evidence for best ways to implement those improvements and this interagency collaboration will help us achieve that,” she said.

The two entities have established a platform to facilitate easy user testing – a centralised Standing Trial Population (STP) – to assess technologies that are used with older people.

Diana Siew, National Medical Device Technologies Sector Manager at Callaghan Innovation, says the STP is a register of patients, identified in advance so that a clinician can quickly find participants to test products and technology when needed.

“Ordinarily, a company wanting to perform a clinical trial needs to recruit the trail population themselves. This can easily add months or a year to the trial process.

“The Standing Trial Population initiative was set up to rapidly speed up medical technology development and help reduce the length of time to get technology concepts validated – especially at the early stage of development, where moving fast  is important.

“In this particular STP, all the voluntary participants have health issues associated with ageing, but a population could be created to help companies working in any area of therapy or medicine.”

The plan which is now underway had its origins in 2014, when Waikato District Health Board launched the Institute of Healthy Ageing, dedicated to improving the lives of older people and those requiring rehabilitation following an event.

Callaghan Innovation helps New Zealand businesses succeed through technology, and has a particular focus on medical technology as a potentially massive export earner for this country.

“The STP with the Institute of Healthy Ageing is focused on testing technologies that are relevant to the elderly population, supporting independence and quality of life”.

The institute is continually building the STP and will match older people with relevant health technology products, so that they can try the devices and offer invaluable feedback.  The institute also tests products with health professionals to gain their input.


For more information visit:


Dr Diana Siew, Callaghan Innovation (diana.siew@callaghaninnovation.govt.nz)

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