“It is great fun that we for the fifth time are arranging our joint thesis fair and that the interest is only increasing from both researchers and students. This year we have more than 60 project proposals presented by different researchers”, says Martin Fagerström, Co-director Health Engineering Area of Advance.
The fair is a joint arrangement between Chalmers, Gothenburg University, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. New for this year was that the fair also included proposals for bachelor's thesis.
“It feels good that we this year have the opportunity to offer project proposals also to our Bachelor students. - It is the first class of medical engineering students who will write bachelor's theses this spring ”, says Martin Fagerström.
The proposals presented during the day were from different subject areas and illustrated the interesting meeting between the needs of today’s healthcare and the possibilities that modern technology can offer. The proposals were both practical and dealt with advanced research questions. The subjects contained everything from Nano, VR and radar technology to infection prevention, management issues, and patients’ use of health apps.
Examples of subjects
• Talk2Me – voice-based working methods
• Early stroke characterisation using video analysis
• Virtual Reality within healthcare
• Digital documentation for drop-in waiting rooms
• Patient-gathered health data to reach healthcare
• Meaningful user experience for citizens as well as healthcare professionals tracking individual health data
• Improving management of patient flows at various levels
• Management of patient groups with complex care needs: Improving patient safety in real-time
Increased demand for healthcare requires new working methods
Many of the project proposals regarded the needs in today’s and tomorrow’s healthcare.
“We have a growing and aging population and because of advances in research and technological development, we can treat more severe diseases than before. This means that we get increased demand for healthcare, but the resources we have do not increase at the same rate. We need to manage that gap, for example by developing new working methods and tools, not at least linked to digitization, says Cecilia Hahn Berg, development strategist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
Several of the proposals highlighted that there is a great need to transfer certain care from the hospital to the patient's home and to try to digitise and optimize time-consuming aspects of today’s healthcare, such as administration. An example of this involves voice-based working methods for ambulances. Other projects will investigate the possibility of working with fall detection, for example in the homes of elderly people. Another proposal was about developing an app to support diabetes patients in checking their own feet regularly to avoid the foot problems that are common in that patient group.
Cecilia Hahn Berg is positive in regards to this year's fair also including bachelor's thesis.
“It's great that the hospital, and researchers from both the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers are establishing contact between themselves and these students from start. Their skills are highly demanded, and they are our future recruitment base.
The students Kajsa Homann, Elvira Carlén, and Matilda Alexandersson study the bachelor's program in medical engineering at Chalmers and are satisfied with their choice of education. Their impressions of the project presentations were positive.
“It was fun to hear about the projects that dealt with major societal issues and management challenges, we haven’t had much experience with such issues yet, says Kajsa Homann.
“I haven't decided yet, we won't write the master's thesis until this spring, but I became very interested in the project that was about cancer treatment, says Matilda Alexandersson.
Collaboration that inspires
The annual fair allows the supervisors to reach out widely with their project proposals and the students get the opportunity to ask questions directly to the supervisors. The cooperation between the universities also means that the students get the chance to work interdisciplinary with real projects, side by side with students and researchers with different competencies. In some cases, the students are supervised by researchers from both the clinical and technical side of health technology.
One Chalmers professor who presented several proposals during the day was Göran Lindahl, director of the Centre for Healthcare Architecture, CVA.
“The close collaboration with the healthcare sector, in this case Sahlgrenska University Hospital, gives us access to the actual operational challenges that the healthcare sector is facing, which creates relevance and provides inspiration. Having the opportunity to discuss, test, and develop ideas and knowledge together is a quality aspect of our education”.
The fair not only gives the students an overall view of the current project opportunities, but it also offers an opportunity to mingle and network across programme boundaries during the mingle sessions. Several educational programmes were represented at the fair, including within Chemistry, Quality and operations management, Medical technology, Specialist nursing programme, Industrial design engineering, Engineering mathematics and computational science, Programme in Dental Hygiene, Global Health, Cognitive Science, Pharmacy, Data science and AI, Biomedical Engineering and more
Text and photo: Julia Jansson