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Revolutionary tailor-made care for complex chronic conditions

The University of Twente will be coordinating a large-scale European project RE-SAMPLE in which real-world data monitoring and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be used to improve understanding of COPD and comorbidity (two or more chronic conditions). The aim is to ensure that patients with complex chronic conditions receive the right care at the right time faster. This type of care focuses on the individual instead of solely the illness. This innovative e-Health technology will be implemented in three countries with hundreds of patients diagnosed with COPD and comorbidity.

The number of chronic conditions in Europe is on the rise, particularly as life expectancy increases. Meanwhile, health care systems are not yet sufficiently equipped to treat patients suffering from a combination of chronic conditions. “In other words: patients with multiple complex chronic conditions are sometimes sent from pillar to post”, Dr ir Monique Tabak of the University of Twente explains. Tabak is conducting research into personalised e-health technology and is the coordinator for the project. UT Researchers in the fields of cyber security and the evaluation of healthcare technology will also be involved.

Tailor-made healthcare

Tabak: “A patient with COPD, chronic heart failure and anxiety disorders, to give an example, could experience shortness of breath. But how do we find out what causes this symptom? What is the best course of treatment for this patient, or better yet, how can we prevent a temporary or even permanent deterioration of the condition? By checking up on and monitoring the patient at home or in their everyday environment and combining this data with medical and scientific knowledge, we can develop new and validated models to improve our understanding of what causes chronic conditions and how they progress. This will then allow us to predict illness progression. These predictive models make use of various types of data (measured in daily life and in the hospital) and existing information. Through the application of privacy preserving tools and machine learning, we can provide top-quality tailor-made care to our patients.”

“The RE-SAMPLE project allows us to gain new knowledge which will lead to a clearer understanding of COPD and comorbidity. This includes the cause and development of exacerbations; a temporary or permanent worsening of symptoms. We will investigate how best to act in a timely fashion to prevent deterioration of the patient’s health. The individual is the main focus. Based on the data, the physician’s expertise and the experiences and wishes of the patient, decisions will be made for further treatment and recommendations will be issued.”

Three test hospitals

The researchers will begin at three test locations representing the various hospital systems in Europe. Hundreds of patients of hospitals in Italy and Estonia and the Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) hospital in Enschede will be participating in the project. The personalised and tailor-made healthcare for these patients will be offered in the form of a virtual companionship programme. Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) is looking into the wishes of patients and therapists for this program. RRD develops an implementation plan for the care and then evaluates the success of the program. The first step now is to combine existing data from clinical trials with the collection of new real-world data, including monitoring by sensors. For  example by letting the patients keep track of data relating to their symptoms using an app on their phones. “A team of experts in the field of data and AI, healthcare professionals, and patients themselves will collaborating. Healthcare decisions are only made by this shared decision making triangle so the patient will play a big role”, explains Tabak.

About RE-SAMPLE

The RE-SAMPLE project is funded by the EU’s Horizon2020 research programme with a grant worth six million euros, as part of the SC1-DTH-12-2020 call, Use of Real-World Data to advance research on the management of complex chronic conditions. The project is a partnership between multidisciplinary partners from the Netherlands (University of Twente, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Roessingh Research and Development) and other European countries (Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain). University of Twente is in charge of the coordination of the project and various departments are involved: Biomedical Signals and Systems (Monique Tabak), Health Technology and Services Research (Anke Lenferink) and Cyber Security (Andreas Peter).

UT is hiring PhD candidates

Three vacancies have recently been published for PhD candidates who will be cooperating on this project. More information on these vacancies can be found here.

J.C. Vreeman (Jochem)
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