MedTech Science & Innovation

Wednesday last week, and as a beginning of the Swedish MedTech week 2017, was the inauguration of MedTech Science & Innovation which is a new medical research and innovation centre in Uppsala. The centre is a long term collaboration between the Uppsala University Hospital and Uppsala University.

The day started with a welcome from Fredrik Nikolajeff and Marika Edoff from MedTech Science & Innovation. It was a busy schedule with many good presentations. Magnus Larsson, the head of the Digital Development Unit at the Uppsala University Hospital, talked about the digitalization within healthcare. Anna Attefall from Innovation Akademiska talked about how they support innovations, and she stressed the importance of user tests!

Further the program included many short presentations from researchers working with a broad range of MedTech applications. One example is Robin Strand from CBA and the division of Visual Information and Interaction at the IT department at Uppsala University (same division as the HTO group) who presented their work with advanced image analysis as a support for surgery. I was last out among the research presentations and talked about how important it is that the MedTech systems are usable, and how we work with including the user perspective.

The event ended with industry presentations, with for example Carl Bennet from the Getinge Group who stressed the importance to measure other values than costs to stimulate new innovations for better healthcare.

Listen to the presentations (in Swedish) here

On Teaching and Four Papers Accepted for Frontiers in Education 2017

A majority of the researchers in the HTO group are also very interested in computer science education.  As a HCI senior working at the department of Information Technology you do teaching in HCI around 30-60% of your time depending on what research projects you are involved in, and depending on what you are interested in. Most PhD students do 20% of teaching in HCI courses. So, as a student you would meet our faculty in a large variety of different HCI courses!

Many of us are also a part of Uppsala Computing Education Research Group (UpCERG) which is another research group at our department which is led by Arnold Pears. This research group does research on teaching and learning of computer science education.

This year the HTO group submitted four papers to the Frontiers in Education Conference, and all of them were accepted!

1) The first paper was a joint effort with many authors, of which Åsa Cajander, Jonas Moll and Diane Golay from HTO were a few. The paper is about student behavior and makes use of the theory of planned behavior for analyzing and understanding unexpected behavior in an HCI course. Jonas Moll has written some about this paper in his blogs. The paper is called Unexpected Student Behaviour and Learning Opportunities: Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Analyse a Critical Incident”. This paper is the first one in a row of papers on the same theme.

2) The second paper presents an interview study with computing instructors who were teachers in a summer camp for children. The summer camp is an example of a maker community effort targeting girls who are interested in computer science, and hence has a gender perspective. The main author of the paper is Tina Vrieler who is a PhD student in the UpCERG group. Åsa Cajander is one of the co-authors of the paper together with Aletta Nylén. The paper reports on the experiences made and what lessons there are to learn from the summer course and is called: “What Computing Instructors Did Last Summer – Experiences & Lessons Learned”. There will be more papers published from this summer course and they will make use of social capital theory.

3) The third paper is a paper where Aletta Nylén is the main author, and Åsa Cajander is one of the co-authors. The paper discusses students and their thinking related to higher education learning, and the paper is called: “Why are we here? Student perspectives on the goal of STEM higher education”.

4) The fourth paper presents a new method for scaffolding teamwork competencies through the use of a role play and the personas method. The main author of the paper is Arnold Pears, and Åsa Cajander from HTO is one of the co-authors and writes about her experiences using the personas method for discussing strategies to motivate peers in teamwork. The paper is called “The Archetype Learning Method – Scaffolding Teamwork Competences in the Engineering Classroom”.

The Frontiers in Education conference will be held in Indianapolis in the US, October 18-21, 2017. This is one of the core conferences in engineering education and includes research on a large variety of areas such as gender and IT, programming courses and professional competencies. Usually a large group of people from the UpCERG research group are present at the conference. We’ll see if some from the HTO group will come too this year J

Final Seminar Related to PhD Thesis about Inertia and Deployment of IT systems

Thomas Lind will defend his PhD thesis the 15th of September 2017. This week we had a seminar where the work was discussed with an external reviewer, José Abdelnur Nocera.

José Abdelnour Nocera and Thomas Lind

The thesis is about the deployment of IT systems. Thomas Lind’s PhD thesis has several contributions:

  1. The development of a theory for understanding deployment: Inertia.
  2. Deeper understanding of deployment of IT from a sociotechnical perspective.
  3. The evaluation of the method “Vision seminars” as a method to use when deploying IT systems.

During the seminar Thomas Lind first presented his work, and this was followed by a discussion with José Abdelnour Nocera. The discussion concerned both the six papers that are included in the thesis as well as the introductory text for the papers.

In the evening we had a nice dinner at Basilico.

The HTO group thanks José Abdelnour Nocera for a very valuable discussion. Now we are looking forward to the final defense of the PhD thesis. 🙂

Live-streaming of an open-heart surgery

In order to familiarize myself a bit more with the medical domain in preparation for the DISA project, I decided to attend the lectures of the “Medical Informatics” course given at the IT department at Uppsala University. The course comprises several study visits, the first one of which consisted in attending a live-streaming of an open-heart surgical intervention at the Uppsala University Hospital.

The live-streaming, which consisted of a high-quality video feed without sound, was orchestrated and commented by a clinician. Before and throughout the three hours that lasted the streaming session (which, unfortunately, ended before the end of the actual operation), the clinician provided us with some background on the ongoing procedure and explained to us how the main machinery and tools in use during the operation worked – showing us real-life examples of what these tools look like.

Throughout the streaming session, we had access to three different cameras located at different places in the operation theatre and capturing different angles of the intervention. As such, there were three different “views” available:

  • the operation theater as a whole, where we could see who was present in the room and how the medical staff was standing around the patient;
  • the “surgeon’s view”, where we could see the (opened) chest of the patient, as if standing above the patient’s body;
  • the vital signs monitor.

The main view used during the streaming session was the second one, the “surgeon’s view”. However, we switched several times to the general, operation theatre view, though for shorter amounts of time.

The live-streamed intervention revolved around placing an artificial valve inside the patient’s heart. In order to do this, the clinicians needed to:

  • Open the patient’s chest (including the chest bone);
  • “Connecting” the patient to the heart-lung machine (described in more detail below);
  • Stop the heart;
  • Open the heart;
  • Fix (with stitches) the artificial valve inside the heart;
  • Close the heart (with stitches);
  • Restart the heart (a defibrillation was needed);
  • Make an ultrasound of the heart (in order to check that the valve was working and well-adjusted);
  • Set up draining tubes (in order to allow for the bleeding within the heart cavity taking place during the next few hours after the operation to be drained out of the body without re-opening the chest);
  • Close the patient’s chest – a last step that we were unfortunately unable to witness.

To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the surgery was the heart-lung machine. Its first function is to cool the patient’s blood (and, ultimately, the patient’s body) in order to minimize the risk of brain damage during the operation (which can be quite long). Its second, and probably main, function is to act as a substitute to the patient’s heart and lungs so as to enable the heart to be stopped while maintaining the patient alive. The heart-lung machine is handled by a specially trained nurse (called “perfusionist” in Swedish and “perfusion technologist” in English), who disposed of a screen (in addition to the machine’s two interface screens) with a specific MetaVision layout fitted to her particular needs.

Beyond the perfusion technologist, sitting at the heart-lung machine situated at some distance from the foot of the patient’s bed, the medical team actively taking part in the operations was composed of a main surgeon, an assistant surgeon, an operating nurse (notably in charge of handing instruments to the surgeons), an assistant nurse (notably in charge of handing equipment and instruments to the operating nurse) as well as an anesthetist and an anesthetic nurse. Interestingly, the anesthetist and the anesthetic nurse, standing at the head of the patient’s bed, were separated from the surgeons by a sort of curtain placed vertically between the chest and the head of the patient.

I noted two further interesting facts from the streaming. First, all team members except for the main surgeon are replaced at some point during the operation in order to prevent the risk for distraction- and tiredness-induced errors. As such, good “transfers of duty” seem to be an essential part of such complex and long interventions. Second, the surgeons and operating nurse did not seem to use any screen as support, and it is the anesthetist who is responsible to look at the result of the ultrasound in order to assess whether the result of the operation is satisfactory.

In summary, this was a truly fascinating and instructive “class”, though I was a bit disappointed by not having any sound – I had hoped to be able to hear how the medical team communicates and to understand when and how they use the different screens and computerized tools they are surrounded with. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to attend another operation within the next few years in order to answer those questions!

The HTO research group: Our Mission

Our research group study the relationships and dynamics of Health, Technology, and Organisation (HTO) with the goal of creating knowledge that support sustainable development and utilization of ICT. Areas of interest include eHealth and the proliferation of such services. The concept of a digital work environment and its application to promote healthy work. Methods and techniques to support the deployment of a redesigned organisation of work including new ICT. The compatibility of user centred design and usability work with Agile methodologies and novel software development practices.  Inclusive design and design for all, as well as gender and ICT. We subscribe to an Action Research approach to study design and strive for swift and wide dissemination of our research through an array of outlets ranging from high impact journals and conferences to open platforms and social media applications.