And the winner is...
Hellen Tielemans (Thomas More University of Applied Sciences) devised an app that allows paramedics to communicate with the hospital in a faster and more efficient way. Her hard work paid off: she won the Flemish Thesis Prize 2022, which earned her 2,500 euros and a trophy which she received from the Flemish Minister of Science Jo Brouns.
Every year SciMingo searches for great and newsworthy theses written by Flemish graduates. Hellen Tielemans was crowned the winner of the 2022-edition in Brussels City Hall from no less than 357 entries.
'The golden hour'
The first hour after an accident is often called ‘the golden hour’. Chances of survival are highest when emergency services act within that hour. Unfortunately, this crucial hour is not always used efficiently. During her training as a paramedic, Hellen Tielemans noticed that the communication between ambulances and the hospital has room for improvement. “A paramedic has to make the right decisions very quickly in order to save human lives. Yet they also have a large administrative responsibility by collecting and relaying patient data to the hospital.”
Every second counts
And that’s where the problem lies. Ambulances often arrive at the hospital unannounced, which means they are ill-prepared for the patient’s arrival. Due to time constraints, paramedics lack the time to transfer all patient data. “When every second counts, correctly transferring data is of great importance.”
In order to improve the communication between ambulances and the hospital, Tielemans devised an application. Paramedics can enter patient data into the app with a few clicks and automatically send it to the hospital. “This digital support is important,” says Tielemans. “When paramedics transfer patient data from memory, only 33% of the data is correct. With digital support tools this becomes as much as 99%.”
“Tieleman’s thesis begins with a frightening observation, but ends with a hopeful conclusion,” stated the jury that included Bruzz editor-in-chief Kristof Pitteurs and Lise Van Dessel (Pelckmans). “She sought a tool to standardize the crucial communication between paramedics and the hospital, which lead to a highly relevant piece of social work.”
During the award show, Tielemans received the prize from Flemish Minister of Innovation and Science Jo Brouns: “The solution offered by Hellen Tielemans is a great example of the many inspiring innovations in the healthcare sector. These innovations have a big impact on the well-being of patients.” Tielemans’ work earned her a trophy and a check for 2,500 euros.
It's time to save time
Tielemans continued to work on her app after graduation. With the support of Start It @KBC she started her own company to develop the app. At this stage she already completed a prototype, but she hopes to complete a version that can be field-tested by paramedics within the year.
Four other awards were presented during the ceremony at Brussels City Hall. Manon De Meester won The Bachelor Prize with her thesis for which she trained a rat to detect pathogenic bacteria. The Klasse Prize goes to Noah Fuhrmann who developed a STEM curriculum that encourages students to work on local climate issues like desiccation. Emma Coene and Frédéric Claerhoudt won the Eos Prize together with their thesis on detecting gastric tubes through the use of ultrasound. Arno Verstraete won the mtech+ Prize with the algorithm he developed to optimize video streaming.