Erasmus MC – Create4Care: Alleviating Challenges in Healthcare
At the Create4Care department of Erasmus MC, nurses, doctors, patients, researchers, and students work together to make work in healthcare more efficient and effective. Onno Helder is the initiative’s coordinator. “I was trained as a pediatric nurse at the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital. We did some things in an inconvenient way, and I often wondered if our work could be made easier,” says Onno. This interest led to a desire to do more research.
Eventually, Onno completed a Ph.D. in infection prevention for premature infants. “During my defense, I told about my wish to develop a feedback system that supports employees to comply with the 30-second hand alcohol drying time. Then the hands are optimally disinfected to be able to touch the baby in the incubator. I just couldn’t design the feedback system because I’m not an engineer. I was put in touch with Ronald van Gils, senior lecturer at Hogeschool Rotterdam, and we eventually started Create4Care together. Students helped to develop the Neonatal Incubator’s Traffic Light. It significantly improves the hand disinfection drying time, and I am very pleased with that. With Create4Care, we now mainly focus on healthcare innovations in the hospital.”
“The strength of Create4Care lies in collaborations. Nurses, doctors, patients, and students provide input so that we meet the needs in the workplace,” says Onno. “An example of this is the TrulyEasy clamp, which allows easy height adjustment of an arterial line. It recently won the Anna Reynvaan Practice Award.” An arterial line is used to measure blood pressure. However, when a patient changes position, the line must be adjusted for a reliable measurement. Loosening and tightening the line is difficult and often painful for the wrists and forearms of nurses. Onno says, “This was a practical problem for which we came up with a good solution. It seems simple, but it’s not. Strict quality requirements bind us, and, of course, we must first thoroughly test innovations.” The ultimate goal of Create4Care is to roll out innovations nationally. Onno says, “Because the practical problems in Erasmus MC also occur in other hospitals.”
What is the significance of developing these innovations? In addition to making the practice easier and preventing ergonomic injuries, the HealthTech sector provides a new perspective on healthcare demand. “There is an increasing demand for care while fewer employees are available. In addition, we look at a future scenario in which more hospital care is moved to the patient’s home situation,” says Onno. “We need to organize this smartly, and technology can help.”
Collaboration between different parties is crucial. Therefore, Erasmus MC has recently started working with YES!Delft: startups contribute to technological solutions to make healthcare easier through the Health & Care Tech program. Onno Helder says, “In the future, I want to integrate education, scientific research, and innovations seamlessly. We already see the success among nurses: they are incredibly proud of what they have contributed.”