Fueled by Erasmus Medical Center’s dedication to premier patient care and Dell’s commitment to social responsibility, an alliance between the two organizations serves as an effective strategy vehicle to support social impact and drive positive patient outcomes. In this mission, a physical vehicle – a custom-built research mobile lab, the NeurasBus – facilitates clinical research and treatment development at Neurasmus, a neuroscience research subsidiary of Erasmus MC in Netherlands.
A recent interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wlof7CF_UR0) with Bas Koekkoek, the Assistant Professor at Erasmus MC and Research Leader at Neurasmus, and Renzo Taal, the Director of Healthcare/Life Sciences at Dell, reflects a shared enthusiasm about the potential of the NeurasBus to deliver real benefits for the medical research community and personalized options to the patients.
Bas and Renzo’s comments suggest that Dell not only perceives itself as a socially responsible organization, but also recognizes the growing importance of IT to the mission of healthcare. In making the NeurasBus possible, Dell provided some of the highest performance workstations in existence to support the multi-core power-processing needs of the advanced neuro-research lab. In addition, the workstations and the IT infrastructure are among the most energy efficient, which is in alignment with Dell’s focus on sustainability and reduced environmental impact.
Often, research conducted at medical centers or academic institutions is driven by government funding and marginal revenues from services rendered. With recent economic volatility world-wide, funding for medical research has become increasingly scarce. Consequently, medical centers are forced to seek alternative means of supporting human research critical in continued expansion of knowledge for evidence-based medicine.
Moreover, today’s medical research faces additional challenges of the difficult-to-mobilize aging and disabled, as well as geographically scattered, patient populations; the need for proper monitoring and procedural consistency to ensure patient safety and data reliability; and delays associated with slow trial enrollment, just to name a few. Mobility afforded by a low-cost self-sustaining research lab offers greater ability to conduct research when, unlike in the traditional approach, it is the Lab that comes to the patient and the Lab is fully equipped to handled the above challenges.
Equipment integrated into the mobile lab allows testing and evaluation of medication effects to be conducted directly at the patient’s home, reducing hospital visit frequency and increasing safety and care convenience for the patient. Membership in the European Union expands the political boundaries of the home country with an open road for the NeurasBus to serve patients not only in Netherlands but also in countries of the EU. This ability of a single lab to conduct research with patients in broad geographies adds further advantages through superior consistency of procedures and accelerated clinical trial enrollment.
The example of Erasmus MC’s Neurasmus and Dell collaboration illustrates a natural fit between IT and medical research resulting from a mutual alignment on the mission to improve patient outcomes. In fact, the healthcare industry presents ample opportunities for socially responsible companies to become involved in shaping the future and well-being of our society, and the potential impact does not stop there. Consider the possibilities.