By performing excellent scientific research, valuable and relevant for society, the Department of Health Technology and Services Research aims to support decisions into early development and
implementation of health care technology in order to achieve high quality of health care for individual patients.
HTSR translates Health Technologies into Health Services. Health technologies affect the quality of individual patient health care and consequently health services. Health technology can be defined quite broadly. However, given the setting at the University of Twente, HTSR specifically investigates the application of new instrumentation, devices and other tools, such as information and communication technology, which seeks to improve (personalized) health care. In particular bio- information- and nanotechnologies that allow better and more detailed diagnosis (e.g. medical imaging) and technologies that allow assessment and monitoring of critical factors in chronically ill patients, like in-vitro diagnostics built into a lab-on-a-chip are expected to have a large impact on health care. HTSR therefore has a focus on product- rather than on process innovation. Obviously, these interact with each other and this should be acknowledged, but the technology defines the focus. The quality of health care for the individual patient is defined on the commonly used definition by the US National Academies’ Institute of Medicine: ‘degree to which health services for individuals or populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with the current professional knowledge’ . The focus of the department HTSR lies in the methodological assessment of advantages, disadvantages and use of early health technologies from the patients’ and societal perspective, in order to support decision making. This includes research into the effect of a new technology on clinical outcomes, quality of health care, health services, and the associated health care costs. For instance, HTSR may study the changes in health care costs due to new medical technology. The organisation of the health care system is an important determinant of the appropriate use of technology and as such will be an integral part of our research regarding implementation.
The department HTSR informs various stakeholders at different levels by conducting non-clinical, early stage and clinical research, as indicated in figure 1. Stakeholders can be situated on a meso- and macro level as well as on a micro level and include for example governmental decision makers, hospital managers, clinicians, health professionals and biomedical technical engineers. Even before technologies enter the bedside, HTSR research informs stakeholders about the impact of such technologies on health gain, organizational consequences and health care costs. The research portfolio therefore intends to combine early stage assessments using several data sources next to clinical studies involving real patients.