Models of Cooperation between Medical Specialists and Biomedical Engineers in Neuroprosthetics

Models of Cooperation between Medical Specialists and Biomedical Engineers in Neuroprosthetics

Emilia Mikołajewska (Military Clinical Hospital No. 10 and Polyclinic, Poland) and Dariusz Mikołajewski (Kazimierz Wielki University, Poland & Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2237-9.ch070
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Abstract

The development of novel technologies associated with neuroprosthetics and their clinical applications needs interdisciplinary knowledge, including not only medical sciences, but IT, biomedical engineering, biocybernetics, and robotics. The variability of possible neurological deficits, interventions, and even scales—from nanotechnology up to rehabilitation robots and brain-computer-interface controlled exoskeletons as whole-body neuroprostheses—makes this task very difficult. Current models of education and cooperation within interdisciplinary therapeutic teams only concern medical specialists. This chapter tries to answer the question, how can biomedical engineers be incorporated into research and clinical practice in neuroprosthetics considering the various aforementioned factors, necessary changes in educational processes, ethical issues, and associated organizational problems?
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Introduction

The development of novel technologies associated with neuroprosthetics and their clinical applications needs interdisciplinary knowledge, including not only medical sciences, but IT, biomedical engineering, biocybernetics/neurocybernetics, and robotics. The variability of possible neurological deficits, interventions, and even scales – from nanotechnology up to rehabilitation robots and brain-computer-interface (BCI) controlled exoskeletons as whole-body neuroprostheses (NPs) – makes this task very difficult. Joint efforts toward the improvement of contemporary interventions' efficacy may lead to novel solutions in interdisciplinary therapeutic team structures and work organization, providing another breakthrough in BCIs' and NPs' clinical applications. Unfortunately, contemporary models of education and cooperation within interdisciplinary therapeutic teams concern only medical specialists. Existing models of interprofessional education (IPE) may require significant improvement, development or even replacement (Kearney, 2008; Illingworth & Chelvanayagam, 2007; Barrett et al., 2003). Current cooperation between medical staff and biomedical engineers may be regarded as underestimated. Moreover, its influence on the effectivity of the whole treatment has not been fully examined so far. This chapter aims at answering the question: how can biomedical engineers, rehabilitation engineers, biocybernetics and other technical specialists be wider incorporated into the needs of research and clinical practice in neuroprosthetics considering various aforementioned factors, necessary changes in educational processes, ethical issues, and associated organizational problems?

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