ipSOX is a collaborative company involving staff from NHS Lothian, Edinburgh Napier University and The Funky Fone Sox Company Limited.
The ipSOX company idea developed after one of the company members with Type 1 diabetes, changed from insulin injections onto an insulin pump. After a search to find covers for the pump, it became apparent that there were limited accessories available to purchase. This prompted the development of a questionnaire that was posted to patients who attend our diabetes clinic and use an insulin pump.
Results from the questionnaire combined with staff experience (please see attached pdf), highlighted that wearing an insulin pump can be uncomfortable and impractical at times. The pumps are made of hard plastic and can be uncomfortable when worn directly against skin. Pumps also come with a clip for wearing on a belt or attaching to clothing however some people wish to 'hide' the pump under their clothes. There were no suitable products found on the market for holding the pump, so female patients often pop them into their underwear (bra) and some male patients will customise their trousers by adding an extra pocket for the pump. Pumps can sometimes be impractical when wearing light coloured clothes e.g. the pump will show through if female patients are wearing white tops or blouses.
Some quotes from the questionnaire relating to current accessories included:
More discreet the better.
I want accessories that will co-ordinate with my outfit.
I want to wear a white t-shirt without my pump showing through it.
I always wear my pump in my bra and want something comfortable and discreet to use.
This questionnaire highlighted a lack of accessories available for insulin pump users and suggested improvements for the limited accessories currently available. These tend to be bulky, indiscreet and expensive. Also several of them used velcro which damages clothing. It was also noted that limited accessories were specifically tailored for children.
When searching on-line for accessories, a family run company from Yorkshire called The Funky Fone Sox Company Limited was found who produced covers that would fit pumps (although not manufactured for this purpose). A meeting was arranged to discuss promoting the covers to patients in Lothian, and then the idea snowballed to have them accessible to all people who use insulin pumps.
From this, and in response to the patient's feedback, the collaboration between health care professionals and a commercial company has lead to the development of ipSOX Ltd which will promote pump accessories. The company name stands for 'Insulin Pump Sox'.
IpSOX Ltd will sell and distribute funky covers for the insulin pumps that are made of a cotton/Lycra mix so that the pump feels soft against skin. This will be comfortable to wear and will protect the pump. The pump covers are also machine washable.
The pump covers come in a selection of vibrant colours and designs that can be matched to clothing and personal taste, and will stretch to fit any insulin pump. A nude cover is also available for patients who wish to wear their pump under their clothes. Children who use insulin pumps will like the bright designs and characters.
These accessories will provide a gap in the current pump accessory market, which will improve and enhance the practicalities and visual appearance of wearing an insulin pump.
Jacqui Charlton and Liz Mackay are Diabetes Specialist Nurses, and Dr. Mark Strachan is a Consultant Physician in diabetes at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
Jenny is a Business Development Associate with Edinburgh BioQuarter.
Carolyn is a director of The Funky Fone Sox Company Limited
Dr Howard Marriage is the Entrepreneur in Residence for Edinburgh BioQuarter and Director with 7 Scottish based Life Science companies and the Roslin Foundation, another not for profit company.
Dawn is an experienced Financial Director of both start-ups and established businesses across a broard range of industries.