Australian affordable dialysis device wins global innovation competition

Sydney’s Ellen Medical has beat over 500 entries from 22 countries to win top prize with its Affordable Dialysis System at the World Innovation Summit for Health 2020 Innovation Booster competition.

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is conducted every second year in Doha, and is sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, and was held virtually this year.

“Dialysis has been a safe and effective treatment for kidney failure for over 60 years, but for every patient who gets this treatment, another three will die, because it is just too expensive,”  said John Knight, managing director at the company.

“Our system is not only much cheaper to deliver than standard peritoneal dialysis but also avoids the logistics costs and greenhouse gas burden of transporting thousands of bags of dialysis fluid to remote locations.”

According to Ellen Medical, their device costs under $1,000 to build and $5 a day to run, and has particular usefulness in developing countries. Its portable distiller can clean local potable water into medical-grade sterile water used in point-of-care dialysis bags. It is part of a pack fitting inside a small suitcase (see picture) and including water purifier, care station and solar panel.

Sterile water is a major consumable for patients. 

Ellen Medical was founded as a partnership between The George Institute for Global Health and inventor Vincent Garvey. 

Garvey aims to disrupt dialysis, and describes haemodialysis — which uses an “artificial kidney” to process a patient’s blood and return it to the body — as “a $70bn global industry that should be a $7bn industry.”

Another George Institute invention, the clinical decision support system Smarthealth, made the shortlist of 14 for the “Boosters” prize.

Ellen Medical and SmartHealth are both part of the George Health group.

Picture: Rendering of the device from 2016, the year it won the Affordable Dialysis Prize (

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