The TOPFIT Citizenlab, a three-year research & innovation programme, sees citizens, healthcare professionals and companies join forces with researchers to develop and implement technological innovations for health & healthcare.
In the near future, keeping healthcare available and affordable is set to become increasingly challenging, which calls for a new generation of solutions that can prevent, replace or relocate healthcare. As we learn more about how behaviour, lifestyle and our surroundings affect our health, a greater emphasis is placed on prevention and health promotion. Overall, the aim is to keep Dutch people healthy for five years longer. In this process of improving health and devoting more attention to prevention, citizens will be asked to play an increasingly important role. This is in line with today’s trends of increased self-management and self-reliance in healthcare, with citizens requiring more insight into and autonomy over their health. This calls for increased citizen involvement and participation in researching, testing, modifying and implementing innovations. On top of that, we will have to identify and give meaning to health problems and relevant technological innovations, also known as citizen science.
The TOPFIT Citizenlab is working on a citizen science methodology developed for and by citizens that can actually be applied in practice in the healthcare sector. The people involved represent different health statuses and embody the principle of ‘positive health’, which revolves around a person’s ability to deal with life’s challenges and take control of one’s own life. Cases in the TOPFIT Citizenlab always start from the individual’s perspective, considering a person’s health status, working environment or its role in new technology development. There are various ways in which the TOPFIT Citizenlab can involve the general public, such as by making available experimentation facilities for research by citizens (‘Citizenlab Locations’), by actively involving citizens (‘Citizenlab Mobile’) and by creating an open platform that enables people to collect, analyse and share data independently (‘Citizenlab Digital’).
The Citizenlab is powered by the Twente Regional Deal and receives financial support by the Central Government’s Regional Budget, the Province of Overijssel, the Region of Twente and the Twente Board.