Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and the Eastern Health Alliance (EHA) signed a new five year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), extending and expanding on a partnership that began with a three-year MOU in 2013. The stated objectives are to develop solutions for better healthcare delivery, nurture future generations of healthcare engineers, and cultivate healthcare innovation in Singapore.
Established in collaboration with MIT, SUTD is an autonomous university focused on science and technology education, while EHA is one of the 6 public health clusters in Singapore under the Ministry of Health Holdings. The partnership between the two is mutually beneficial, with SUTD helping develop innovative patient care solutions and STUD students obtaining exposure to the growing interdisciplinary field of healthcare engineering.
During the first three years, EHA and SUTD funded 13 projects to the value of S$2.2 million, which produced three filed patents:
1. Body Fluid Drainage Device: The device enables pre-selection of volume and rate, automating the process of draining abnormal collections of fluid from body cavities and minimising human intervention. It is designed for mobility and can be used in both inpatient and outpatient settings
2. Lung Simulation Model for Education: The lung simulation model simulates diaphragmatic contractions and different pleural pressures to train medical personnel, omitting reliance on static models, mannequins and animal lungs for training.
3. BWard Real-time Blood Sensing and Wound Monitoring Device: It can differentiate blood from other bodily fluids and can be used for sensing, monitoring and alerting when there is active re-bleeding at the site of venous catheter extraction. It provides continuous monitoring for bleeding in patients who have undergone surgery or who have suffered traumatic injury. It can also be used to monitor for bleeding or disconnected tubing during hemodialysis.
The new MOU aims to encourage greater numbers of SUTD students to specialise in healthcare engineering. Talking about the rising need for experts in the area, Provost of SUTD, Professor Chong Tow Chong said, “Demand for healthcare engineers and architects is anticipated to grow as Singapore’s population ages, requiring more sophisticated medical equipment and procedures, and fresh thinking about health facilities and cost-effective care delivery.”
Students from the Engineering Product Development pillar at SUTD will be able to opt for new modules co-developed by EHA and SUTD, through which they can gain a robust understanding of healthcare and basic principles of medicine through the modules.
Working with EHA provides the students with real world experience. Being exposed to clinical environments and observing procedures and medical devices, they can identify unmet clinical needs and try to come up with solutions, which can then be commercialised and deployed in clinical environments.
Read the SUTD press release here.