Coronavirus: UFSC extends suspension of in-person activities until 31 May

30/04/2020 12:38

The Central Administration of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has extended the suspension of the university’s in-person academic and administrative activities until 31 May, according to the Normative Ordinance no. 359 published this Wednesday, 29 April.

The teaching activities, at all levels and of all types, remain suspended on all UFSC campuses. The Ordinance also extends the suspension of other on-campus academic activities such as defenses, recruitment examinations and meetings.

In-person technical and administrative activities, in all UFSC units, remain suspended as well, except for health, security and other urgent and essential services.

The document stresses, however, that these measures may be changed upon occurrence of new events.

Read the Normative Ordinance no. 359/2020/GR, click here.

Coronavirus: telemedicine system developed by UFSC can be an answer during the pandemic

09/04/2020 12:29

A dermatologist analyzes a medical test. Photo: CET/SES-SC collection.

On 31 March, the Federal Senate approved the use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil. The objective is to alleviate the healthcare system, especially hospitals and health centers, by using technological resources, such as videoconferences, to assist patients. The proposal now goes to the President for approval. The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) already has a telemedicine tool operating for 15 years, which is currently present in all Santa Catarina municipalities and has proven positive results. It can be an essential tool during this pandemic time.

The proposal of using the UFSC Integrated Telemedicine and Telehealth System (STT) nationally was sent to the Ministry of Health by the Santa Catarina Senator Dario Berger, as a tool to optimize and expand the triage and monitoring of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 across the country.

According to Aldo von Wangenheim, a faculty member of the UFSC Department of Informatics and Statistics, who is one of the creators and the current scientific coordinator of the system, the STT is a compilation of technologies, medical work processes, test protocols and clinical procedures for large-scale remote diagnosis and monitoring of patients in the context of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS).

“The STT represents more than 15 years of continuous operation and improvement. Many obstacles placed by ‘real-life’ challenges were already overcome, and we keep offering full and continuous coverage in the state of Santa Catarina”, remarks the professor.

The Integrated Telemedicine and Telehealth System developed by UFSC has been executed uninterruptedly and continuously in partnership  with the Santa Catarina State Health Department since May 2005, receiving support of the Pan American Health Organization, the Ministry of Health, the Santa Catarina State Foundation for the Support of Research and Innovation (FAPESC), and the Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP). The system consolidates basic research technologies and results, adapting and testing them in a large practical real-world environment.

Currently, more than 80,000 medical tests and telemedicine appointments are carried out per month. See below some of the STT numbers:

  • More than 650 health institutions connected in Santa Catarina, from health centers to high-complexity hospitals;
  • More than 100 health institutions connected in the states of Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and Tocantins, for which STT offers a few services;
  • More than 55,000 healthcare workers using the system, of which 35,000 live in Santa Catarina;
  • All the 295 Santa Catarina municipalities assisted;
  • More than 80,000 tests carried out per month, totaling 9,5 million tests since 2005.

Telemedicine in the Unified Health System (SUS)

Professor Aldo von Wangenheim explains that the technology and many of the processes and protocols used in the system were developed from scratch, since large-scale telemedicine in the public health sector is a technological area still unexplored internationally. UFSC has been conducting research in this area since 1999. In the STT, it is possible to store and send imaging tests of various types, manage communication between healthcare workers, and accommodate a network with a central cloud storage.

“Since the beginning, the STT was designed to assist the public health system; it is developed using free software and does not require licenses or great operational costs”, highlights the professor.

“At the moment, we have the system installed in the University Hospital at UFSC (HU/UFSC), where we are developing an integration with the University Hospital Management App (AGHU), which operates there. In addition, we have experience regarding the integration of our system into electronic record systems: currently, the system is integrated into the MICROMED electronic record systems used in all public hospitals in Santa Catarina, through a standardized and transparent integration via DICOM Worklist, as well as into the legacy record systems of the HU/UFSC. An integration with e-SUS was also designed and it is in its planning stage”, informs the researcher.


Further information

UFSC Telemedicine/Telehealth website

Tools integrated into STT

Explanatory videos about STT


With information from Agência Senado, UFSC Telemedicine/Telehealth  | Translated by SINTER

Read the original article here.

Coronavirus: UFSC Central Administration suspends all in-person activities until 30 April

08/04/2020 14:29

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Administration of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has extended the suspension of all academic and administrative in-person activities at the university until 30 April, according to the Normative Ordinance no. 357, published this Tuesday, 7 April. This measure unifies the suspension period, once classes in the State of Santa Catarina were suspended until 19 April and the UFSC administrative activities were being suspended for 1-week periods.

“The decision is supported by all indicators developed by specialists, which show that the contagion ‘peak’ in the outbreak curve shall occur around 20 April”, explains the Rector, Ubaldo Cesar Balthazar. Since UFSC suspended the classes initially from 16 March and later, after the State Decree, extended the suspension until 19 April, there was a significant movement of students going back to their hometowns. More than 30% of UFSC students have their families living outside the city where they study.

With this suspension, the technical and administrative activities can continue to be performed remotely – wherever possible – thus preserving social distance, which has been confirmed by health authorities as an essential strategy for preventing the mass spread of the virus. “We insist that what is most fundamental at this moment and in the following days and weeks is taking care of our health and the health of our friends and family. We should stay at home”, stressed the Rector.

Ever since the activities were first suspended, UFSC has been taking firm actions against the pandemic. Numerous research projects and investigations are presenting solutions and actions aimed at safety, testing, prevention measures, and solidarity. Moreover, since the University Restaurants are closed, the Prorectorate for Student Affairs (PRAE) has set up an emergency program to provide grants to the university’s most vulnerable students, based on their socioeconomic registration.

“We have been attentive to the students who depend on the restaurant’s meals and who, in this moment, are in need of further support”, explained the Pro-Rector for Student Affairs, Pedro Manique Barreto. In addition to the grants, which will be provided again in April, basic food baskets were offered to students in the Student Residence Hall and in the indigenous housing unit, and a ton of food has been sent to each of the four UFSC campuses outside of Florianópolis. This week, with the support of the Students’ Union (DCE), PRAE is also engaged in another action, which will distribute six more tons of food.

“As I said two weeks ago, the University hasn’t stopped. We are working, and we are working a lot, to maintain our institution focused on preserving lives, which is our most important and essential asset”, said the Rector.

To read the Normative Ordinance no. 357/2020/GR, click here.

By AGECOM/UFSC | Translated by SINTER

Read the original article here

UFSC coordinates development of emergency medical equipment

03/04/2020 21:50

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) is leading a network of more than 100 researchers who are adapting or producing ventilators, as well as protective equipment for healthcare workers, to face the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “Since the whole world is facing this problem, no one is willing to export any equipment”, says Thiago Holtgebaum, a Mechanical Engineering graduate who coordinates the Mechanical Ventilators run by the Emergency Medical Equipment (EME) group.

The first prototype is almost finished due to the efforts of students, faculty, technical administrative staff, physicians and many other professionals. “This project integrates the expertise of many researchers, applying Engineering knowledge with efficiency and simplicity to meet an urgent need for complex equipment”, explains Professor Henrique Simas, a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (EMC) who joins the team.

The Mechanical Ventilators project has several actions in progress. The most advanced one intends to automatize bag valve masks using a simple concept, which utilizes hospital components that are well known in the market. The team used the ventilator model developed by the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) as a basis and is replicating it to perform the initial tests, in parallel to conducting research with the ‘UFSC Concept’. “We want the model to work and fulfil its role as a ventilator system, without the costs of a more complex equipment”, highlights Thiago, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the UFSC Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program (Posmec).

A second action aims to create a more complex ventilator, able to control different variables, but still using national items already available, meeting the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa)’s requirements. This project has two work fronts. One of them works with a purely mechanical concept and aims to improve the use of mini ventilators (used in ambulances, for instance). The other one is based on a microprocessed concept and aims to develop a ventilator as similar as possible to the one currently found in the market.

EME also produces – usually with a 3D printer – protective accessories, such as nose and mouth masks and face shields. The group is led by professors Daniel Martins (coordinator), Carlos Rodrigo de Mello Roesler (deputy coordinator) and Humberto Reder Cazangi (operational coordinator). In addition to them, many other UFSC professors and students are part of the group, including Guilherme Pagatini, who currently lives in Italy.

Among the scarce financial resources available, there are R$ 13,000 donated by the UFSC Faculty Association (Apufsc)  to buy components for the development of ventilators and material (filament) to produce masks.

Equally dedicated to research and fundraising activities, Polo (Research Laboratories for Emerging Technologies in Cooling and Thermophysics), supported by the Stemmer Foundation for Research, Development and Innovation (Feesc), has opened a bank account to receive donations from individuals or corporations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations of any value are welcome!

Bank: Banco do Brasil
Branch: 3582-3
Account: 203.013-6
Name: Fundação de Ensino e Engenharia de Santa Catarina
CNPJ: 82.895.327/0001-33

By Heloisa Dallanhol – EMC/UFSC | Translated by SINTER 

Read the original article here.