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To meet the growing demand for healthcare calls for new and creative solutions. The MIRA Institute is exploring ways in which high-tech applications can be used to improve the quality and accessibility of care in Overijssel. The programme will have the additional advantage of promoting employment throughout the region.

Several research groups of the University of Twente are acknowledged as world leaders in the development of new healthcare technologies. A robot which can assist patient convalescence, blood tests based on nanotechnology, and an entirely painless but highly accurate method of screening for breast cancer are just a few examples.

MIRA, the Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, is to make these innovations available to patients in the Province of Overijssel, adopting an entirely new approach. Under the general supervision of the hospital, patients will soon be able to visit modern health centres close to their own homes. These 'high-tech health farms' will offer treatment based on the very latest technology.

Health gains and new employment
Within a few years, the concept will take form with the creation of the first centre in the Twente region, established in close cooperation with the Province of Overijssel. Researcher Maarten IJzerman, who devised the programme, expects to see a marked improvement in all aspects of healthcare in the region. "Average life expectancy here is three years less than in the west of the Netherlands. In that respect alone, there are great gains to be made," he states. "Moreover, our high-tech health farms will help hospitals to achieve the aim of improving efficiency. The hypermodern health centres will also boost the local economy. Technological innovations developed by University of Twente will be given the chance to prove their value in practice. A number of new companies will be set up to produce the equipment for use throughout the Netherlands, and in the longer term, worldwide. They will create significant new employment opportunity in Twente. If our project here is a success, I can guarantee that it will soon be extended into other parts of the country."