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PROFESJON-Forskningskompetanse for utvalgte profesjonsutdanninger

Patient-Centric Engineering in Rehabilitation (PACER)

Alternative title: Patient-Centric Engineering in Rehabilitation (PACER)

Awarded: NOK 10.0 mill.

Gait function and balance in humans is a complex topic, and movement for patients with prostheses is challenging. In this project, we have investigated physiological changes, especially cerebral cortex activities, in patients with impaired gait function. The project was divided into four different focus areas to 1) measure physiological, sensory, and mobility results with state-of-the-art technologies. 2)develop instruments to simplify and improve existing instruments used in the lab today. 3) use machine learning techniques to analyze the data. 4) apply user design for the patient's daily needs. At the same time, the PACER project has focused on interdisciplinary collaboration between the various professions and how that collaboration can be developed. The latter is essential as patient-centered based on digitized health services will gradually have a more significant impact on the Norwegian health care system in the near future. Therefore, there is a growing need to train health professionals, engineers, and designers in collaborating in an interdisciplinary and complex field where health and science disciplines complement each other. An interdisciplinary understanding, professional respect, and a thorough understanding of the problem are important for meeting new challenges with innovative solutions in the field of biomedical engineering and health technology. OsloMet metropolitan university has had a unique position by educating professionals for several professions, and that project is an excellent example of how the different professions can work together. Through the project, PACER has contributed to 1) developing new instruments for measuring brain activity and other physiological parameters. 2) developing and testing new methods for analyzing brain activities for people with prostheses and MS patients. 3) measuring more physiological and biomechanical parameters in the prosthesis user study. 4) study and develop new methods for adapting sensor technology, especially concerning measurements of brain activities with patient-centered solutions. Three Ph.D. candidates are planed to complete their degrees from the PACER project in 2021 at two of OsloMet's faculties ( Health sciences and engineering science programs). In addition, three bachelor projects and an international student group of students from the Netherlands, USA, France, and Germany have completed their projects under the auspices of the PACER project.

The PACER project has strengthened the technical and scientific expertise within the partner institutions. In this case, mainly towards rehabilitation and training of the future doctorates. In addition, the project has had the following effect: -Educating three Ph.D. students on cutting-edge topics in using sensors and fNIRS technology, machine learning, and design directed towards medical applications. It has also strengthened the scientific research level of the projects at the faculty of TKD, OsloMet, in collaboration with solid scientific partners both with the national and international partners. -Increasing the international scientific reputation and visibility of Norway in sensor technology (specially fNIRS technology), machine learning, and design in medicine by publishing our joint research results in prestigious journals and proceedings of highly reputed, refereed international conferences.

In patient centered services, digital technological solutions will continue to have gradually more impact on Norway's health system. It is therefore a growing need to train healthcare personnel, engineers and designers to collaborate in such a multidisciplinary, complex field where human and natural sciences complement each other in patient centered services. This impacts all levels of the "ecosystem" of these professions, and the most specialized people, the doctorates, are essential. These doctorates have the responsibility to train and lead sub-projects, which can further involve graduates and undergraduates. A cross-disciplinary understanding is one of the key elements to succeeding and meeting new challenges with innovative solutions. Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) can educate and train doctorates, with the unique position of a multitude of professions - and with the right ambitions - to make collaborative projects across traditional fields. Central to succeed with this specific project at HiOA is the Motion analysis lab (Bevlab). The data from these patient groups is multivariate and difficult to comprehend, thus making the treatment and prevention strategies less effective. There is a need to develop hybrid models where sensor information combined with artificial intelligence tools provide patients and clinicians with simple information to adapt and make decisions, so that new and healthy behaviors are encouraged.The proposed project is a collaboration between several departments at HiOA, Simula Center, and Research Center CAIR at Agder University(UiA) in addition to international collaboration with the University of Southampton and the University of Washington. We seek, combined with our own funding at TKD, four PhD candidates. Main result of this project: Methods of training higher educated professionals with engineering, design and health science background to handle the challenges of the future health care system.

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PROFESJON-Forskningskompetanse for utvalgte profesjonsutdanninger