PIHC gives regional medical research a big boost

For the seventh time the Pioneers in Health Care (PIHC) fund supports research projects in the Twente and Salland region. The University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Ziekenhuisgroep Twente and Deventer Hospital are making these funds available for medical-technological research with an emphasis on the application of new technologies that lead to improved and more patient-friendly health care. For the first time, the investment company Reggeborgh will make a financial contribution to the PIHC fund. 

Research in the broadest sense of the word

This year 36 research proposals were submitted, with 11 research groups being awarded €60,000. The vouchers were presented digitally to the research teams yesterday evening. The winning proposals cover a broad area: for instance, one will examine whether AI is more reliable than a medical expert in the assessment of internal ultrasound images to diagnose colorectal cancer; another will develop a measurement system for ankle fracture patients to allow them to rehabilitate at home. One project hopes to show that a care robot will encourage children with cancer to be more active. Another group proposes developing an ultrasonic wound dressing, whereby sound waves accelerate wound healing.

Innovation fund

It is the seventh time PIHC has donated these vouchers, which are intended to continue to stimulate and consolidate future collaboration initiatives. “It is exactly these sorts of initiatives that give researchers the opportunity to deliver new technologies that improve patient care,” explains Sophia de Rooij, chair of the MST board. PIHC project manager Jojanneke Schuiling-Jukes agrees: “Together the winning proposals forge excellent partnerships between UT and Saxion researchers and different hospital clinicians – from plastic surgeons to diabetes specialists, from oncological surgeons to paediatricians, and from gastrointestinal and liver specialists to vascular surgeons. PIHC research is research that matters to a large group of patients.” Dr. Mirre de Noo, director of Reggeborgh Medical: “As part of its social commitment, and with its roots in Twente, Reggeborgh is keen to support innovation in the region, especially innovation in health care. Because of the regional character of this fund, and thanks to the partnerships it supports between the various hospitals and UT and Saxion, we see this as an excellent opportunity to give health care in the eastern Netherlands a big boost. We also believe that it is important that talent stays in our region, so that everyone in Salland and Twente can benefit from health care innovations – not just now, but also in the longer term.”

Earlier research projects

Over the last few years almost 60 studies have been given these extra financial injections. They enabled several projects to include test phase subjects and also allowed patients to give input on their own priorities. For instance, young children with asthma indicated how researchers could improve a wearable breathing trainer so that they were more willing to perform an effort test while wearing the vest. Other technologies have already been adopted, and some have yielded care cost reductions. General practitioners can offer to test patients for sleep apnoea at home and in their own bed rather than in a hospital, which enables them to give more targeted hospital referrals.

Source: University of Twente

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