Sponsored by DTU Health Tech

Thomas Lars Andresen, Professor and Head of DTU Health Tech

A Paradigm Shift in the Healthcare Sector Calls for More ­Collaboration

New technologies and innovations created by companies and research environments can solve many of the challenges facing the healthcare sector. But ­collaboration between involved stakeholders is key.

A device sending magnetic waves into the brain while pressed against the head might sound like a serious treatment. But with the help of advanced software, imaging and magnetism, this new device stimulates specific areas of the brain, in a way that may benefit patients suffering from depression for whom traditional therapies have been ineffective so far.

It has only been possible to develop this new type of treatment because it is a result of a collaboration between doctors from Hvidovre Hospital and engineers from DTU Health Tech. If more new, high-tech therapies like this one are to find their way to the patients, this type of collaboration will be crucial in the future.

And this is only the beginning. Technology will play a much greater role in the diagnosis and treatment of ­patients in the coming years. Today, it is standard to do 3D visualization of patients’ brains based on imaging ­algorithms de­veloped by engineers, and in the near future, computer algorithms will diagnose patients and suggest the most optimal treatment to doctors.

Advanced technology requires collaboration

We are heading toward a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift where technology has a decisive influence on how each doctor diagnoses and chooses the appropriate treatment. The driving force is AI and machine learning, big data analysis and bioinformatics.

We are looking into a future where technology and doctors work together in a completely different way than today. Where technologies become much more active in how health professionals make decisions. Where input from doctors and nurses “train” data so that the machines and technology can provide a much more accurate picture of disease and treatment, much faster than today. Thus, if we look further into the future, technologies become a pivotal element in the interface between the individual physician and patients.

With the increasing importance of technology, engineers and others with technology skills are given a significant role to play. This is true both in the hospital corridors and in industry, where new solutions for healthcare are being developed and marketed. However, if we are to unleash this potential, there is a need for a greater extent of interaction between those who develop and understand the technologies and the healthcare professionals who are going to use them to their benefit.

A hub for industry and healthcare sector

The technological paradigm shift calls for new collaborations – between healthcare, research communities and private companies. And DTU Health Tech has recently been established with an ambition to create a unique environment that can embrace the growing trend towards technological convergence as well as intensify the outreach for partnerships with key stakeholders.

There is a need for research to embrace biology, ­technology and data and make the unified knowledge available to industry and clinical environments. This is the link which makes DTU Health Tech an important player in the health tech of the future.

Among other things, it is about being able to move research in industry and universities much faster from the preclinical stage to the clinical, by using basic technologies such as imaging, bioinformatics and gene sequencing as well as knowledge of diseases, immunology and therapy to promote development of drugs and devices, research and treatment.

DTU Health Tech’s vision is to make life better for ­people before, during and after being patients. This must be done through technically based research in close collaboration with the health care sector, and by training new, skilled engineers for industry and the health sector with a deep understanding that technologies are developed for people. We cannot do this alone, however, we see ourselves as the connecting point for the cooperation that is so crucial to making new things happen.

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DTU Health Tech
  • DTU Health Tech educates future engineers and develops new technology and solutions to improve the lives of people before, during and after being patients.
  • It does so in close cooperation with the health care sector, industry, research institutions and other health stakeholders.
  • DTU Health Technology is a multidisciplinary ­department with research areas in biopharma, disease diagnostics and digital health platforms.
  • The department has approx. 450 employees in 11 sections and over 40 research groups, including around 150 ph.d’s.