Image-guided medical treatment: healthcare & innovation

03/09/2020

Having completed studies in medical engineering, Elke is now a Scrum Master for Philips Design and works in the field of image Guided Therapy which aims to innovate minimally invasive procedures.

 

“My team, which is entirely composed of designers, devises prototypes to improve the quality of patient care by improving the user experience. Right now, we’re working on medical solutions for interventional rooms. With our interventional applications platform we can incorporate intravascular imaging and physiology into image-guided medical treatment procedures.

Our solutions will enable caregivers to precisely identify coronary heart disease (a condition that reduces blood flow to the heart muscle) and peripheral vascular disorders, which affect blood vessels outside the heart. Better identification will in turn lead to optimized care, as image-guided medical treatment is combining both the diagnostic and therapeutic methods, thus constituting a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. It allows doctors to gain an in-depth view of the human body, without needing to perform surgery on any tissue, and to access targeted areas within the body, notably via the vascular system”.

 

Engineering that optimizes the quality of patient care

Elke pursued a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, then obtained a master’s in medical engineering, with a specialty in biomechanics and medical imaging.

Her graduation project gave her the opportunity to transform theory into practice, by developing a knee-joint simulation that analyzed cartilage damage in order to find the best implant for treatment. As part of this project, she used finite element modeling to study the load and pressure distributions over the cartilage. After graduating, Elke decided to gain knowledge and experience in software engineering, a key field for anyone looking to improve their expertise in the medical imaging industry. It was during a career fair at her university that she met ALTEN, who suggested the masterclass in software engineering. After completion of that masterclass Elke carried out several consulting missions with ALTEN, in various sectors, culminating in her current position supporting the teams of Philips Design.

At ALTEN, Elke was initially a consultant on a software development project for onboard agricultural systems, where she later moved into the role of Scrum Master, while continuing to work on the technical side of the project as well. This dual role was very instructive for her: “I first learned that software development wasn’t just about coding. It’s about building a solid software architecture and constantly optimizing the quality of your code by testing it again and again. As Scrum Master, I helped a whole team of developers to use “Agile” methodologies—a project-management style based on continual flexibility and dialog between stakeholders.” It was in this position as Scrum Master consultant that Elke then joined Philips Design, which develops technologies for healthcare.

“I oversee a team of designers whose primary goal is to optimize the quality of patient care. Medical engineering allows me to work on devices and projects that help to prevent illnesses or detect them at an early stage.”

 

Fostering agility as a Scrum Master Engineer

“I help my team use iterative and collaborative approaches, which allow us to work effectively with the developers. Agility is already well entrenched in the IT industry, but it’s a lot less present in design. It’s an exciting challenge to help my team improve their agility, and with it, their performance.”

For Elke, establishing processes for optimal collaboration within her team requires coordination. Engineering isn’t just about knowledge of a single technical field: it’s also about making sure that your teams, the product, users, the customer, and every other stakeholder are all taken into account.

“It is through open-mindedness, ambition and cutting-edge technological expertise that I have been able to progress as an engineer at ALTEN.”

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