SHI Blog

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Sliding with Ease: A Better Solution for Patient Transfers

Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI) is thrilled to be partnering with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) once again. As a university that is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, SHI is looking forward to another semester with both business and engineering students in helping better our patient experiences.

Not coincidentally, the Seidman College of Business and Padnos College of Engineering and Computing are directly across from each other. While the two seem like complete opposites, the collaboration is actually seamless in the business world. Kevin McCurren, Professor of Management, says,“How the students are working together is a good representation of the outside world.”

One of the projects being worked on this semester is the patient auto slider. The problem appears to be simple, but it will require some critical thinking. Moving a patient from the bed to a stretcher can be physically exhausting and also has been found to cause back pain due to poor ergonomics from the current method.

Dylan DiGiovanni, an engineering student at GVSU, can attest to this unwanted discomfort:“To understand the underlying problems, our patient auto slider team actually pulled a student from a stretcher to the bed. To our surprise, it was very exhausting, especially if you’re doing it all day long. Being able to fully comprehend the problem at hand was a critical step in the design process for the team.”

For patients, the problem is just as inconvenient. Ideally, the new device or method will reduce the interference between the nurse and the patient. Patients can expect a smoother transition, creating less stress for everyone involved.

Dr. John Farris, Professor of Engineering at GVSU, knows the challenges this project will pose for students.“Developing a new device or process to be universal to both beds and stretchers will be difficult.”

The next concern is time. The current method is extremely lengthy for a task that is so simplistic. The ultimate goal is to bring the time down to around two minutes. This will be a significant benefit that the new method or device will embrace.

By the end of the fall semester, the engineering students will have a prototype created. However, the business students will continue on with the project during the winter semester. Dr. John Farris and Kevin McCurren, as well as everyone here at Spectrum Health Innovations, are excited to see what the students come up with.