Capstone Innovations

Capstone Innovations are proposed in the final phase of Carle Illinois' engineering-based, innovation-oriented medical school curriculum. The fourth-year students research a problem identified during their clinical rotations, propose a solution, and then recruit and lead a cross-disciplinary team that includes engineering students from The Grainger College of Engineering and business student consultants from Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, to develop a new prototype or process that will potentially change the practice of medicine and improve patient outcomes. Capstone Innovations at Carle Illinois College of Medicine are supported by The Henry Dale and Betty Smith Family.

Capstone Innovations 2022

Improving Safety and Communication

Designing Solutions for Improved Outcomes

Advancing Patient Care

Innovative Fluoroscopic Imaging: Real-Time Wire Localization for Interventional Radiology Procedures

A Carle Illinois team has created an innovative new system to guide physicians in real time as they treat liver cancers with an increasingly prominent procedure called radioembolization. The minimally invasive procedure treats liver cancer by using a catheter and-wire system to deploy radioactive microbeads in blood vessels supplying a liver tumor. Currently, physicians rely on static images to guide their placement of the microbeads, but the lack of real-time imaging can make it difficult to avoid damage to healthy tissue. The Carle Illinois team has designed an automated fluoroscopic imaging system that would provide the radiologist with “driving directions” to reach the targeted vessel and real-time feedback on the location of the catheter and wire at any given time during the procedure. The goal is to reduce the need for contrast dyes and decrease procedure time. The team includes Carle Illinois' Andrew Chang and Phani Gaddipati.

New App Charts Course for Better Treatment of Chronic Pain

Two Carle Illinois students have created an app that gives physicians an at-a-glance view of how a patient’s chronic pain changes over time and with different treatments. The innovation equips clinicians with the data needed to develop more effective treatment plans and help patients better manage their own pain. The mobile app designed by Samantha Houser and Andrea Hall is different than existing pain management apps because it translates a patient’s answers to standardized pain assessment questions into a graphical representation that offers clinicians real-time insight into pain patterns. Patients can log in from virtually anywhere at any time to securely record information about their pain trends and medication usage, allowing physicians to make data-driven pain management and treatment decisions. Future development may include making the app available in languages other than English and creating automated reminders for patients to record their pain trends.

Winning ‘Smart Toilet’ Automates Urine
Analysis

A Carle Illinois College of Medicine student team’s updated design for a ‘smart toilet’ to collect and store patient urine samples stands to expedite the diagnostic and monitoring process. New features to automatically analyze urine samples
represent an advancement, especially for patients with kidney disease, who require regular monitoring. Carle Illinois student Yusi Gong won the 2019 Health Make-a-Thon competition with her design for a commode-style toilet that collects urine samples over a 24-hour period and stores the samples in a portable refrigerated chamber for analysis later. Now, Gong and her Capstone partner, fellow Carle Illinois student Jian Zhuang have expanded the design features to incorporate protein analysis of the patient’s urine sample. Working alongside senior design students from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Gong and Zhuang have automated flow from the commode into a custom reservoir to be imaged using paper microscopy techniques. The resulting data can yield valuable diagnostic evidence because urine contains a breadth of biomarkers that provide physicians with clues about many disease states, including kidney disease. The updated smart toilet design is a fixed commode that also allows for analysis of a single void, in addition to the 24-hour collection. Following analysis, results
would be uploaded to the ‘cloud.’