Research program aims to make digitalization part of every-day patient care

Digitalization is moving forward fast in every field, including medicine. But how can digital tools be integrated into healthcare processes, and how should data be visualized to personalize patient care? These are only two of many questions that Professor Dr Jochen Klucken will analyze over the upcoming five years. Supported by a 3.3 MEUR FNR PEARL Chair, Prof. Dr Klucken will develop digital health concepts for Luxembourg through a joint research program involving the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL).

Data-driven medicine and innovative digital tools are on the verge of complementing existing healthcare procedures and change the way patients, healthcare providers, and researchers will work together in the near future. New digital patient-centered healthcare services will address the patients' needs, continuously monitor and accompany individual patient journeys, and support healthcare providers in making clinical decisions.

Real-life healthcare data will become available, and thus, add value. Its application in medicine has an enormous potential to reduce disease burden, improve healthcare and generate new solutions and services. Yet, aspects pertaining to the integration into healthcare pathways and the evidence proving the benefit of these new services for patients, healthcare providers and society are not sufficiently clear - this will therefore be the focus of the FNR Digital Medicine Research Project.

Composed of experts in medicine, data science, health economy, IT engineering and social science, the Digital Medicine Group (dMed), led by Professor Dr Klucken, will address the medical benefits, structural and procedural changes, and social acceptance of the resulting digital healthcare services. "We want to understand how patient-centered, personalized healthcare technologies can be tailored to patient needs and integrated into the existing healthcare structures and procedures," says Prof Dr Klucken, "We believe that shaping the rising age of digitalization in medicine requires the development of new evaluation methods."

dMed will use Parkinson's disease as an example to develop and unlock the potential of digitalization. Building on the experiences of Prof. Dr Klucken with sensor-based gait analysis in Parkinson's disease, the first task will be to understand how patients, doctors and therapists could make use of the data that are continuously recorded in the patient @home environment. From these first experiences, the use of other patient-centered digital tools, including wearable sensors and smartphone apps, will be evaluated and integrated into the management of the everyday healthcare process. Thus, not only patients and caregivers, but also doctors, therapists and professional care providers are warmly welcomed to participate in shaping and evaluating new digitally-supported integrated healthcare management processes.

The Digital Medicine Group will align with digital health strategies in Luxembourg to combine innovative digital healthcare technology solutions and health informatics with the needs of patients and healthcare services providers. We will contribute to the innovation in digital healthcare solutions and improve healthcare by enabling fast, efficient and transparent information for patients and their healthcare teams."

Professor Dr Jochen Klucken

Luxembourg provides a unique environment to shape this digitalization process in medicine. It boasts a comprehensive healthcare ecosystem with close interaction of policymakers, healthcare providers, academic institutions and society/patients. This also aligns with the present changes in medical education, specializations in medicine and the interdisciplinary research activities in biomedicine and medical engineering underpinning the multidisciplinary nature of digitalization in medicine. The FNR PEARL Chair in Digital Medicine will support this process with a strong understanding of patient-centered applications and integration into existing and future healthcare services.

The Digital Medicine Group was set up in March 2021 and works in very close collaboration with the NCER-PD project. It is supported by the FNR-PEARL Program at the LCSB (Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedicine) of the University of Luxembourg, the LIH (Luxembourg Institute of Health) and the dMed Research Clinic at the CHL (Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg).

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