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‘I’m like a kid in a candy store with all these disciplines’

Professor of cardiology Douwe Atsma (LUMC) looks beyond the traditional boundaries of hospitals and healthcare institutions for solutions to increasing pressure on the current healthcare system. He was appointed as a Medical Delta professor this month with a dual appointment at TU Delft. ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with various disciplines on virtual care.’

Medical Delta is an alliance between Leiden University, the LUMC, TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, four universities of applied sciences from Zuid-Holland (Leiden, The Hague, Rotterdam and Inholland), governments, healthcare organisations and businesses. Medical Delta aims to realise technological solutions for sustainable healthcare.

Introduction to Medical Delta professor Douwe Atsma

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Can you tell us about your research?

‘In my research, I develop ways to provide healthcare in patients’ home environments. We do this by providing the patient with a box, “The Box”, a kit equipped with instruments allowing patients to conduct self-measurements. The contents, including a scale, ECG meter, thermometer, and sleep analysis device, are tailored to each patient's unique situation.

‘Through a dedicated app, patients perform measurements, and the data is relayed back to the healthcare team. This real-time feedback empowers patients to comprehend their health dynamics. Patients can learn about the relationship between weight and high blood pressure or understand the influence of food and sleep on glucose levels. The real-time feedback allows the patient to comprehend how their body works and what they can do to improve.

‘The innovation extends to digital support for patients, a substantial departure from the limited interactions in the current healthcare system. Doctors and nurses generally see patients very little throughout the year. Douwe Atsma envisions, 'With remote care, you can be much more present in someone's life, echoing the sentiments shared by patients in focus groups who feel more supported.’

The remainder of the interview can be read on the Medical Delta website.

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