Erasmus MC: collaborating with frontline healthcare professionals

By Tessa van Breeden - Erasmus MC is actively involved in innovating their healthcare daily. The Create4Care department aims to make work more efficient and accessible through technology.

They achieve this by establishing collaborations with doctors, nurses, patients, students, and researchers. There are also external initiatives, such as the partnership between Erasmus MC and YES!Delft, where startups contribute to healthcare innovation through the Health & Care Tech program. One of the individuals involved within Erasmus MC is Karin Schröder-de Bruin, who has worked as a nurse in Erasmus MC for almost 20 years, 17 of which were spent in the day treatment center.

Karin is responsible for patients who do not need to stay overnight, such as patients undergoing minor procedures or those requiring infusion treatments. “Every day, we treat many patients with various cases. That requires knowledge about all health specialties, which keeps my work challenging and interesting,” says Karin. “I often say I know a little about everything.”

Karin participated in the “Innovation Champions” course within Erasmus MC. She developed a click system for securing infusion poles, as the traditional system causes wrist problems. “We have specific chairs for eye surgeries. When using general anesthesia, there needs to be an infusion pole attached to the chair. However, it’s not necessary for local anesthesia. The IV pole is currently secured with an inconvenient screwing system at the bottom of the chair,” explains Karin. Nurses have to bend down to loosen or tighten the IV pole; adjusting is not always possible if it is too tightly secured. “We have to loosen the poles regularly because we receive new patients with different procedures twice or thrice daily.The current pivot system warps and cracks the wheelbase. Bacteria can get in there, which is not a pleasant thought when someone is in operation,” says Karin.

Therefore, Karin, Create4Care, and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences students designed a click system. This system is much more efficient and less burdensome for nurses. “We are currently testing the system. Overall, everyone is satisfied; it is much easier. I hope to complete the testing phase before the summer vacation,” proudly shares Karin.

On the one hand, Karin believes that making work more ergonomic will result in fewer colleagues experiencing health issues, and on the other hand, she hopes that it will provide more opportunities for nurses to have a say. “Many great things will emerge,” says Karin. “When we allocate time for the development of innovations, we will work much more efficiently. If we can easily remove an infusion pole from a chair, doctors in the operating room won’t have to work around it anymore. I derive a lot of energy and satisfaction from this project, which makes me feel better on the work floor. It is essential to involve all stakeholders in the thinking process.”

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