• Processamento de imagem | Image Processing
  • Processamento de imagem | Image Processing
  • Sistema de captura e análise de movimentos | System for movement detection and analysis
  • Controle de interface gráfica por meio de atividade de músculo facial | Interaction with graphical user interface  based on EMG
  • Sinais Biomédicos | Biomedical Signal Processing
  • Engenharia Clínica | Clinical Engineering

History

The work on assessment of technology in healthcare began at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU) by internal demands of the Clinical Hospital of Uberlândia (HCU-UFU). The HCU-UFU, which was established in 1970 and federalized in 1978, was created to support the professional stage of the School of Medicine and Surgery of Uberlândia (the current Faculty of Medicine).

The HCU-UFU integrates the network of university hospitals of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC). It is a public and academic institution dedicated to the treatment of patients of the National Health System (SUS), and also to teaching, research and activities promoting the integration between university and society.  

The HCU-UFU is a general hospital, a reference for high complexity care in the region of Triângulo Mineiro (Minas Gerais, Brazil), with 520 inpatient beds. It is the largest public hospital in the region. Currently the HCU-UFU provides services to a population of approximately 3.5 million residents in several specialties.

In the HCU-UFU, there are a number of departments related to the process of generation of specific demands concerning the assessment of health technologies. Among them, stand out the Technical Department, Clinical Engineering, Clinical Medicine, Risk Management and Process Management. These departments have developed preventive and educational activities related to the acquisition, maintenance and use of technologies.

Over the years the HCU-UFU has worked in the field of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) by developing distinct activities, for instance, the creation of database systems (SGE) for the control and evaluation of maintenance of medical equipment. In 2005 the Clinical Engineering department of the HCU-UFU was accredited by INMETRO (the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology) for the measurement and calibration of sphygmomanometers.

In line with the actions implemented in HCU-UFU, research activities in the field of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technology Assessment have been carried out since 1998 by members of NIATS. The Biomedical Engineering can be viewed classically as the application of methods from different areas of Exact Sciences and Engineering in the field of Medical and Biological Sciences aimed at innovation and evaluation of health technologies.

The actions taken by members of NIATS resulted in the creation of the Undergraduate Program in Biomedical Engineering of the Federal University of Uberlândia in 2006. In 2012, it was created at UFU the Postgraduate Program in Biomedical Engineering. These actions allow the training of specialized human resources in the field of HTA, specifically in research, development and evaluation of medical and hospital equipment.

As activities in the area of HTA at UFU were fragmented among the various units of the institution, it was established in 2012, the research group NIATS recognized by UFU and CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), with the mission to develop, evaluate and compare technologies in healthcare that can be used in clinical practice in order to meet the demands of the National Health System. The NIATS develops work related to various areas of knowledge such as Biomedical Signal Processing, Telemedicine, Biomechanics, Medical Imaging and HTA. The expertise of the NIATS in these areas adds further knowledge and experience that can be applied, aiming at excellence in work and research in HTA.

The organogram of NIATS is shown in Figure 1. The following working groups (WG) are highlighted in the diagram: "Prioritization and development studies", "Development and prioritization methodology", "Professional Training", "Monitoring technological horizon", "Dissemination and communication studies." The work performed by each WG is proposed by the Brazilian Health Technology Assessment Network (REBRATS). The work carried out within each WG is shared between Biomedical Engineering and HCU-UFU.