An engineering blog for engineers working in Audiovisuals, Telecommunications, Electronics, ICT, Computer Engineering, Multimedia and Telematics.

02 June 2023 | Posted by angela.tuduri

Design thinking solutions | The challenge of Hospital Sant Joan de Deu with La Salle-URL

The clinic works together along with the students of La Salle-URL in new challenges for technology and health.

Technology is developing to the point of allowing us to develop new and innovative solutions in all kinds of areas: business, medical, production, etc.... Obtaining more promising results than ever before.  

There are many - and practically all - industries that nowadays use technology efficiently to improve and speed up the digital transformation in their companies.  

Last March, students from La Salle-URL's Degree in Health Engineering visited the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital to develop a project linked to the application of design thinking in real challenges suggested by the hospital staff.   

Jaume Pérez Payarols, Alba Agulló Gonzàlvez and Cristina Parra Cotanda were in charge of transferring the challenge to the students of the degree. On the other hand, Joan Vinyets as head of the user experience area also participated as a member of the tribunal.   

What projects ended up being developed in this activity led by the degree coordinators Lisa Kinnear, Roger Mallol? 

Technological innovation for emergency care in hospitals. Using design thinking  

Healthcare engineering becomes a powerful ally when seeking more efficient medical care. The challenge represents in turn a unique opportunity to combine health engineering techniques with medical expertise.   

Through design thinking, students were able to understand, analyze and develop innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the hospital staff.   

Design Thinking is based on a series of creative processes that work through empathy, experimentation and constant iteration. These steps follow a "double diamond" process, which is broken down into four phases: discovery, definition, ideation and implementation.   

Creative thinking is a user-driven methodology employed to solve complex problems and generate innovative solutions. It first developed in the area of design, but its focus has opened to new disciplines, including engineering, healthcare and business.  

Driving change: The patient experience at Hospital Sant Joan de Deu  

From La Salle Campus Barcelona, and as an activity aimed towards learning and design thinking, the students of the Degree in Health Engineering had the opportunity to visit the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu to understand the current situation of the sector and to improve the degree of response to certain hospital incidents.  

The challenge? Finding innovative solutions to reduce and improve waiting times in the hospital emergency room of the clinic, and the experience of patients, families and staff of the center.  

In this first internship, the undergraduate students were divided into teams to manage the 7 main focuses:  

  • Triage nurses  

  • Doctors   

  • Parents of children aged 0-3 years  

  • Patients aged 4-7 years  

  • Fathers and mothers of children aged 4-7 years  

  • Patients between 7-12 years old  

  • Patients between 13-18 (+) years  

While conducting focus group surveys, the students also surveyed the staff of the emergency department in order to learn first-hand about the experience and common problems in hospital processes. 

Check out La Salle-URL students' initiatives for improvement.  

Some of the solutions contributed by the students were:   

Application to perform triage from home 

Ana Ramos, Judit Ventayol, Claudia Montero and Sara Vaquero were the first group to present the solutions. Focused on the adolescent profile, they developed an application capable of determining the waiting time in hospital emergency rooms.   

Taking into account the workload of doctors, nurses and professionals, they included the option of scheduling an appointment or making a phone call with the doctor to know the degree of urgency and specific need. In this way, the waiting time in the hospital is reduced and the screening system adapts to each user in order to offer the best solution.   

Emotional support for medical professionals  

Carolina López, Jordi Margalef and Nuria Martínez created emotional support courses for medical professionals.   

Taking into account the workload and the reduced time available to both doctors and nurses, this new proposal focuses on the mental health of workers, focusing on the management of emotions in the emergency sector. In addition, a screening of the waiting time in the sector is performed and offers the user the nearest hospital with its respective delay.   

Team management with AI   

The team formed by Eduard Collell, José Moreno, Alex Ramírez and Pol Gálvez designed software capable of identifying and screening patient information.   

To reduce the workload of nurses and patients when transmitting symptoms or relevant information about the state of health, this application chooses a triage control to control waiting times and, through artificial intelligence, sort patients by severity and situation to be able to refer them to a box in the shortest possible time.  

Devices that control waiting times  

Can you imagine a device capable of notifying the emergency room shift? Anna and Bea developed electronic disks that indicate the waiting time and turn to rest in areas adjacent to the hospital.   

To facilitate the waiting time of patients in the rooms available in the hospital, this new device offers the possibility of notifying patients when their turn arrives, thus avoiding long queues in waiting rooms.   

Entertainment in children's emergency rooms  

Finally, Laia Guixeras, María Garrido and Jenifer López created virtual games for hospitalized or emergency children to enjoy during their waiting time.  

Sometimes it can be hard for children to wait in hospital emergency rooms, so Laia, Maria and Jenifer devised a series of games to distract children in the hospital during the time of admission.   

Innovative solutions at La Salle-URL - groundbreaking training  

Thanks to new technologies and projects like these, the most urgent patients would receive immediate attention, thus avoiding unnecessary delays. In addition, the students explored the implementation of management systems based on artificial intelligence, allowing them to quickly identify available beds in other areas of the hospital, optimizing capacity and streamlining the flow of patients in the ER.  

Improving internal communication also plays a key role in reducing waiting times. The implementation of mobile applications or online platforms would allow fast and direct communication between medical staff, facilitating coordination and streamlining the care process. 

The projects developed by students of the La Salle-URL Health Engineering Degree for the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital demonstrate the potential of innovation and creativity to include complex challenges. 

The aim of the degree is to train professionals with the right personal and professional skills to be able to create and manage innovative technological solutions in the field of health, while acquiring a broad knowledge of the healthcare environment, healthcare practice and the technologies, methods and tools used to improve people's quality of life. 


Discover the program!


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