EHA-SUTD MOU Yields Three Patents; Partnership Renewed For Five Years

09 Jan 2017

New MOU to focus on fostering medical innovations and promoting talent development in healthcare engineering
The Eastern Health Alliance (EHA) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) renewed their strategic alliance today through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop solutions for better healthcare delivery, nurture future generations of healthcare engineers, and cultivate healthcare innovation in Singapore.
The five-year MOU builds on a partnership that began in 2013 with a three-year MOU that tapped on the symbiotic relationship between health institutions and academia to develop innovative patient care solutions to current healthcare challenges, as well as provide SUTD students with exposure to the growing field of healthcare engineering. Under the first MOU, EHA and SUTD funded 13 projects to the value of S$2.2 million, S$1.2 million more than the initial grant of S$1 million under the HealthTech Innovation Fund. These projects in turn yielded three patents (Annex A).
At the official signing of the new MOU held at SUTD, Group CEO of EHA, Dr Lee Chien Earn said, “We are delighted to extend our collaboration with SUTD to realise patient-centric solutions and develop breakthrough medical technologies. With the renewed partnership, we will continue to share our healthcare expertise and tap on SUTD’s design and technical capabilities to drive medical innovations that promote recovery and enable excellence in clinical care.”
Education a key focus under new MOU
The renewed partnership seeks to advance research, innovation, and education, with special focus on the latter to encourage more SUTD students to specialise in healthcare engineering, which is a growing multi-disciplinary field.
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.”
“SUTD aims to offer engineers and architects the best education to address these challenges, while partnering EHA to provide them with real world experience. This combination will be essential for training technically-grounded leaders and engineers who will be able to help better the healthcare landscape and the world in general through technology and design. I hope that our partnership will lead to significant medical and healthcare breakthroughs that will benefit the community,” Professor Chong added.
To promote talent development in that sector, EHA and SUTD will co-develop new modules to provide students from the Engineering Product Development pillar with a robust overview of Singapore’s healthcare landscape and innovation opportunities in healthcare engineering. The module is designed to nurture the next generation of healthcare engineers who will be equipped with a robust understanding of healthcare and basic principles of medicine.
SUTD students will work alongside industry professionals and researchers to gain valuable clinical and industry insights. They will immerse themselves within clinical environments and observe procedures and medical devices to discover unmet clinical needs. Students will then work on transforming their ideas to solve these unmet needs into feasible medical devices that can be commercialised and deployed in clinical environments.

Annex A
Three Patents Filed Under First MOU
Three patents have been filed from the internships, capstone projects and proposals funded by the HealthTech Innovation Fund. They are:

  1. Body Fluid Drainage Device

This drainage device automates the process of draining abnormal collections of fluid from body cavities. By allowing pre-selection of volume and rate, it minimizes human intervention and results in higher quality of patient care and safety in the process. It is also designed for comfort and mobility, and can be used in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The system addresses current technology gaps in body fluid drainage. It enhances safety and efficiency in drainage procedures through controlled and precise measurements.

  1. Lung Simulation Model for Education

The lung simulation model simulates diaphragmatic contractions and different pleural pressures to train medical personnel. By providing a realistic representation of the human lung, this model omits reliance on static models, mannequins and animal lungs for training to improve training outcomes and enhance clinical skills.

  1. BWard Real-time Blood Sensing and Wound Monitoring Device

BWard is a sensing, monitoring and alerting device that detects active re-bleeding at the site of venous catheter extraction. The device differentiates blood from other bodily fluids and 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 use of BWard augments the process of regular inspection and allows medical staff to attend to more urgent medical needs.