Project - Improved quality of life for patients with chronic venous leg ulcers

Annemarie  Holsbo

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Project - Improved quality of life for patients with chronic venous leg ulcers

User-driven innovation

Project Start January 2010 –  completed June 2012.

About 18-20.000 people live with chronic leg ulcers in Denmark, a number expected to rise with demographic changes and an older population. This will result in an increase in expenses for wound treatment. Compression is today the only way to treat chronic venous leg ulcers but it takes time and in some cases might last a whole lifetime of discomfort for patients. A great amount of technical knowledge and experience is required of nurses to be able to give correct compression treatment. Treatment must be thought of holistically, focusing on both on the ulcer and on “the ulcer in a context”.

The project was based on an open collaboration between public and private partners, each contributing with their own area of expertise, resulting in an optimized development process and final result.

The potential of the newly developed material from Danfoss PolyPower for healthcare products was explored by combining the company’s technical knowledge with the public partners’ knowledge of leg ulcers and the Danish Technological Institutes experience with user driven healthcare projects.

To gain knowledge about the users (both nurses and patients) wishes and needs related to treatment a combination of ethnographical study methods were used to give insight into everyday life with venous leg ulcers. Users were involved throughout the project through idea generation and concept validation workshops which covered many different types of problems and needs. This was done to create a final prototype that was based on real challenges and needs.

The final prototype based on the Danfoss PolyPower DEAP technology (DiElectric Active Polymer) consisted of sensors which could measure sub-bandage pressures with precision, and thus improve the healing process of the ulcers.

The project was financed by the Program for User driven Innovation (Danish Construction Authority) and Vækstforum Region Sjælland

Project Objectives

  • Develop new concepts for products which allow patients to be more independent, and improve the healing process of chronic venous leg ulcers by involving:
    • Patients and primary care: to identify design parameters for future treatment products.
    • Hospital Wound Clinics and national/international experts: to identify needs according to treatment and future needs among the user groups.
  • Identify methods and services that can support a holistic treatment
  • Engage in a private/public partnership for user-driven innovation of healthcare products.


  • Danish Technological Institute
  • Southern Hospital – Region Zealand
  • Danfoss Polypower A/S
  • Municipality of Ringsted
  • Municipality of Slagelse
  • Mediteam Consulting (project management)



  • Ethnographic user study for mapping of users’ needs and everyday life
  • Creating of a panel of experts, trend setters and lead users.
  • Trend identification workshop with expert panel
  • Two sets of parallel idea generation and concept validation workshops
    • with patients and primary healthcare professionals
    • With expert panel
  • Prototype testing
  • Final prototype adjustments