PDEng DEES - Healthcare Systems Design

The influence of technology in healthcare and well-being is apparent in many domains, starting from hospitals, home-healthcare, elderly assisted living and extending to healthcare related well-being applications, such as disease prevention, activity monitoring, fitness and (top-) sports programs and balanced lifestyle. Some major characteristics of the present application of technology in healthcare and wellbeing are:

  • There still is a strong tendency towards technology push from medical/wellbeing (equipment) suppliers
  • Healthcare professionals and health coaches primarily focus on individual clients/patients and medical/physiological knowledge. Technology is considered to facilitate their core activities
  • New health-related technologies only are accepted by both health professionals and clients/patients after extensive evaluation and broad acceptance by leading experts in the field. In addition, reviews in social and other media are becoming increasingly Graduate program Electrical Engineering 2015-2016 crucial. Prerequisite is that new technologies for healthcare and well-being have proven to be robust, non-obtrusive and reliable
  • Healthcare professionals often have severe problems with overseeing and absorbing the potential impact of new technologies
  • New technologies as such do not necessarily lead to higher efficiency of healthcare and well-being applications. Initially, they often even lead to an increase in cost of care
  • Healthcare and well-being related technologies rapidly move close to and even into people’s homes

A key link which appears to be missing is the translation of real ‘customer’ needs to new technology developments. The customers include both citizens (patients, clients and even healthy people) as well as health care professionals. Thus, there is a clear need for people who can translate new technology to customer benefits within the healthcare, wellbeing and sports domains. 
When healthcare and well-being technology moves into homes the issue of translating available technology into relevant and really useful devices (contributing to  well-being) becomes even harder and their integration via ICT into the healthcare eco-system more challenging. Ethics and privacy issues might be more important than technology options. 
The design of professional and consumer health and wellbeing systems is an interdisciplinary process that requires in-depth understanding of both technical aspects as well as user requirements. Typically such a process is performed in an interdisciplinary team, where each team member brings in his/her own expertise and a good understanding of the field of the other team members.

It is the goal of the PDEng HSD program to educate these high level designers and thereby create the innovation potential at the interface between technology and the health and wellbeing area.

The PDEng programs lead to a Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng degree). All PDEng programs are given under the banner of the 4TU.School for Technological Design, Stan Ackermans Institute. This institute is a collaboration between the four technologival universities in the Netherlands.

HSD track within the Design of Electrical Engineering Systems (DEES) program

Within the Design of Electrical Engineering Systems (DEES) program we offer two PDEng tracks:
• Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
• Healthcare System Design (HSD)

Goal of the program

The goal of the PDEng HSD program is to train
engineers to innovate in a relevant way in this specific
domain. The main characteristics of the program
consist of:

  • Design skills (requirements management, project management, model building)
  • Sufficient technical knowledge in a specific area
  • Specific healthcare and wellbeing knowledge and experience
  • Personal skills
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship skills

Especially the last two parts will have a number of specific components different from the other design programs: the engineers should be able to communicate directly with doctors, nurses, patients etc. and be able to translate their needs into good (technological) solutions. This is different from most design projects which operate in a business-tobusiness environment where specifications, even in a first stage, are already quite concrete. It is also exactly the lack of this knowledge in the field which causes many of the problems with the introduction of new technologies in healthcare and wellbeing. Key for the engineers is to learn to innovate in the real world. Therefore the program contains a major design project (and a few smaller ones) next to the curricular part of the program. The curricular part supports the design skills to be used in the project(s). Based on a strong background of technology and application understanding he/she can work together in a team of various (also non-technical) backgrounds to solve multi-disciplinary problems. The result of the project can be a tool, system, process flow etc. which is used in the (clinical) practice. The result is innovative in the sense that it is new to the world. The result typically is a (creative) combination of known components. The result is also obtained in a structured way, using state of the art design tools.

CCTO Certification

This program is recognized as a PDEng program by the CCTO, the Dutch certification institute for technological PDEng programs.