Earth is calling... TechMed Centre

TechMed Centre is making every effort to help hospitals


Healthcare and healthcare personnel are under enormous pressure due to the coronavirus. There is also an imminent shortage of medical devices and equipment. These shortages, such as having too little ventilation equipment, can ultimately cost us lives. The TechMed Centre of the University of Twente is launching various initiatives to support the healthcare sector in this crisis. From a quick advanced training to become doctors, to developing new solutions for ventilation. For example, the TechMed Centre has come up with a smart solution to meet the demand for respiratory equipment by using already existing resources. Researchers from the institution have developed a concept in which multiple patients can use the same ventilator. 

In short

  • The healthcare sector is struggling with personnel and equipment shortages due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
  • The UT’s TechMed Centre is starting various initiatives to support the healthcare sector
  • TechMed is collaborating with, among others, the Radboud, UMC and ROAZ to create solutions

Global Goal

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The importance of ventilation

Ventilation equipment is crucial in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. This technique saves the lives of Corona patients. COVID-19 patients who end up in intensive care have little chance of survival without such a machine. These patients cannot breathe independently due to exhaustion, mucus formation, damage and inflammation in the lungs. They need a device to take over this function until the body has recovered enough to do it on its own. Sometimes, this can take two to three weeks. It is therefore important that patients can use ventilators for a long time.

Smart solutions

In the Technical Medical Centre of the UT, research in the field of technology is focused on healthcare. TechMed has come up with a concept that allows multiple patients to share one ventilator. A splitter distributes the air between the patients, while smart valves and filters ensure that the air from one patient does not end up with another. In addition, different patients have different ventilation needs; this can be adjusted by using adjustable valves. These valves are still being tested. If the tests are positive, and if it is feasible for the healthcare institutions, a switch can be made very quickly. Shortages can be prevented in this way, thus saving lives. It could take weeks before new ventilators are produced, even though shortages are expected by the end of this week. The only thing the TechMed solution requires is an additional tube, so this solution is of vital importance.

TechMed offers a helping hand to healthcare

TechMed Centre’s Business director Remke Burie: “We want to respond to the current questions in the healthcare sector as effectively as possible. It starts with people. Medical professionals such as physician assistants and specialists can contact TechMed for urgent further training so that they can be deployed on the frontlines of Corona care. The centre is creating more options for this and is using all the in-house simulation education. Teams of scientists and students are working on alternative techniques that can be realised quickly. The most notable project is having multiple patients use the same ventilator responsibly. Existing resources are used and combined smartly to enable fast scaling up. In this project, TechMed is working with the Radboudumc, Amsterdam UMC and the Medisch Spectrum Twente.” 

Artificial Intelligence

Innovative technologies from Twente are used to contribute to the Corona crisis. The TechMed Centre is also investigating the possibility of having artificial intelligence (AI) predict the further course of the disease. The researches at TechMed have much experience in planning the scarce capacity of, for example, intensive care units. Would you like to know more about the professionals and researchers associated with the TechMed Centre in Twente? Read the story of Renske van Wijk here.


TechMed director Remke Burie makes an emphatic appeal to share knowledge and work together: “We are contacting partners, both in and outside the region, including high-tech companies, to accelerate the implementation of the plans. Speed is very important right now.” TechMed is already collaborating with, among others, ROAZ (network for acute care), many hospitals and the involved ministries. 

Date: 24 March 2020 |

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