Success For Health Technology
An innovative piece of technology with the potential to save many millions of dollars has been developed by a Canterbury University PHD student Andrew Rudge in collaboration with Christchurch hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
The technology consists of a computer programme that monitors and analyses the degree of distress being experienved by critically ill patients. It then interprets the data and transfers it to a device that automatically administers the exact amount of sedatives required to keep the patient comfortable.
ICU Specialist Dr Geoff Shaw said determining the right amount of sedatives for critically ill patients is one of the biggest problems facing clinicians working in intensive care.
‘There is a tendency to give more rather than less to alleviate suffering but this is not good for the patient and also makes it difficult for doctors to carry out further treatment for whatever illness the patient is suffering from.’
He said the solution developed with Andrew Rudge would enable hospitals to treat patients more efficiently and reduce their stay in hospital, as well as saving on drug costs which accounted for about 10 percent of Christchurch hospital’s ICU budget.
‘If this system was applied in New Zealand, the savings could fund another standalone intensive care unit. It is a wonderful example of the benefits of collaboration with medical science, engineering and mathematics combining to produce an outstanding result.’
Dr Shaw supervised Andrew Rudge in his project together with Dr Geoffrey Chase from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Canterbury University and Dr Dominic Lee from the University’s Dept of Mathematics & Statistics.
Andrew Rudge has been named the inaugural MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year, and has also won the biotechnology category.