Optimising a working environment, improving patient experience, and reducing work-related injuries among healthcare professionals are one of the everyday needs that the healthcare sector struggles to answer. One of the ways to tackle these challenges is by utilising various testing and development environments, such as OuluHealth Labs. Located in Oulu, they are recognised platforms for developing health innovations in authentic environments and with genuine users. These labs are also utilised to familiarise healthcare professionals with the solutions that help to overcome the burden of workload and improve hospital services. OuluHealth Labs are also an excellent educational platform for students to increase their knowledge and improve their practical skills.
Versatile medical imaging teaching and test laboratory
One of the innovators that contacted OuluHealth Labs for testing was Njord Medtech, a company from Sweden that has developed a patient transfer device, Atle®180. The solution is a motorised medical device used to facilitate horizontal patient transfers in healthcare. It was tested in collaboration with one of OuluHealth Labs, the Mittlab imaging departments in Oulu University Hospital.
The Mittlab is a medical imaging teaching and test laboratory located at the premises of Oulu University Hospital. It was established in January 2021 in collaboration with the University of Oulu and the Oulu University of Applied Sciences as part of a European Regional Fund project. It joined OuluHealth Labs increasing their number to four. The laboratory offers an infrastructure that serves the needs of research, education, and companies in a versatile manner. Testing of the Atle®180 was one of Mittlab’s first customer projects.
Testing in Oulu University Hospital brings good results
The testing of Atle®180 started in May 2023 with a training session provided by its developer, Njord Medtech, on the premises of the Mittlab. The goal of the training was to present the solution to radiographers Johanna Siromäki and Tanja Kimpimäki who became its super users. Then they introduced Atle®180 to the rest of the staff as the device was moved to the emergency and central imaging departments of Oulu University Hospital for testing with real patients. The solution was used to facilitate transferring lying patients from a bed to an examination table and back. It consists of pulling lines and bar, as well as the hand control and the Atle® 180 – unit. Small as it is, it can transfer a patient of up to 180 kilos in just 15 seconds easily and comfortably.
The testing delivered very positive results. In imaging departments, many patients are transferred every day. Staff perceive these transfers as heavy and easy to cause strain-related discomfort. According to the Atle®180’s super users, the device is very useful in their departments. The testing showed that the effort as well as the number of people involved in patient transfers decreased.
‘We introduced the device to as many members of our staff as possible to receive reliable feedback. Our overall experience is very positive. Normally a patient transfer requires from 3 to 5 staff members. With the Atle®180, only one person can be enough to perform the transfer without any physical effort, which is a main advantage. It’s easy to use and safe for patients who described it as smooth and comfortable,’ said Johanna Siromäki.
During the testing, Njord Medtech mainly aimed to find out about the impact their solution has on the work of caregivers and the quality of patient care. The results showed that this simple solution can help to manage increased workload in hospitals. It saves caregivers’ time and decreases the physical effort needed in their everyday work with patients.
‘The cooperation with Njord Medtech was very easy. During the whole testing period, we received continuous support. We also held Teams meetings to discuss the progress and ask additional questions,’ continued Tanja Kimpimäki.
The Mittlab is one of the many environments in Oulu that serve as a perfect innovation platform for education and product development purposes. They are open to customers from Finland and beyond.
Read more about the Mittlab and other OuluHealth Labs to see their offering.
Text: Joanna Seppänen, Health & Life Science, BusinessOulu