Our vision is that future health care is value based, strongly outcome- and technology-driven, and critically builds upon flourishing innovation ecosystems in which close and well-organized collaboration between clinical centers, nearby knowledge institutes, and local industry strongly increases speed of commercialization and clinical implementation of high-tech health innovations maximizing value for the patient.
This vision is in line with new insights and developments in healthcare, based on maximizing value for patients, i.e. achieving the best outcomes that matter to the patient at the lowest cost (Porter and Lee, Harvard Business Review, October 2013). Apart from, and as part of, healthcare organization aspects and proper definitions of health outcome measures, dedicated high-tech health care innovations and their fast implementation will be indispensable to maintain a cost effective healthcare system that is patient-oriented and configured around what individual patients really need for a better health care outcome. These innovations include advances in quantitative diagnosis, (tele-)monitoring, clinical decision support, medical intervention, and patient-tailored therapy along with the exploitation of new possibilities offered by data science solutions and ICT-infrastructures.
Our mission is to improve value based health care by creating and expanding an ecosystem that enables a fast track to high-tech health innovations.
Accordingly, we aim to strengthen the institutionalized collaboration between regional partners focusing on research and innovation in pre-defined clinical domains. Initially these are the domains in which we already excel internationally, i.e. perinatal and cardiovascular health along with sleep medicine. Later this collaboration can be extended with other clinical domains, such as oncology. In these domains we will aim at advances in (hospital-based) anticipatory care and cure, as well as in (home-based) participatory health and wellbeing. Anticipatory health care includes innovations regarding early detection of diseases, quantitative diagnosis and monitoring, model-driven predictive decision support, and technology-guided early intervention. Participatory health and wellbeing includes prevention, tele-monitoring, e-health solutions, big data applications, and patient engagement. Success in both areas will be measured on the basis of results in outcome, i.e. scientific output for the university, patient outcome and patient value for the clinic and society, and new innovations, patents and product-service combinations for industry.
In the Brainport Eindhoven region the Catharina Hospital (CH), Maxima Medical Center (MMC), Kempenhaeghe (KH), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and regional industry such as Royal Philips Eindhoven (RPE) are obvious partners to constitute such an ecosystem. This kind of an ecosystem is essential for maintaining the top innovative technology profile of the region and to reinforce its global competitiveness vis a vis competing regions abroad. It will have a strong beneficial impact on the quality and costs of care, and will be an economic motor for the high-tech-health equipment and service industries.
Because of the magnitude and breadth of the above ambitions, a broad and balanced multi-level governance structure is needed and is being established. This involves:
- A backbone of (currently around 35) senior bilateral cross-appointments ensures that all partners are continuously well aligned. This includes appointments of key clinical specialists and industrial experts as part-time full-professor at TU/e, and formal advisory roles in industry of key TU/e and clinical experts.
- Each PhD student has daily supervisors from each involved partner, and is employed part-time at the partner institution(s) so as to fully apprehend and profit from its expertise and facilities. This is possible because partners are at ‘cycling distance’, which is a precondition for the required intensity of interaction.
- Clinical PhD students are systematically teamed up with engineering students so that the technical and clinical work can reinforce each other.
- To achieve sufficient critical mass, research is organized in a limited number of coherent programs, currently focusing on cardio-vascular care, perinatal care, and sleep&respiratory care. Each program has a daily management team with representatives from each partner (see Fig. 4 below). This team ensures that the program runs smoothly, stays on track and aligned with strategic directions, and produces not only high-quality scientific results but also clinical and industrial impact.
- Overall operational and strategic management is handled by a steering group composed of (currently about 10) senior managers and researchers from the involved partners.
- Dedicated joint task forces proactively support the collaboration in areas such as clinical data acquisition and sharing, IP, and acquisition of external funding.
- The collaboration is overseen by a supervisory group at Board of Management level which meets twice a year to review progress, resolve strategic issues, and provide strategic guidance.
Other stakeholders (e.g. province, Brainport, healthcare insurers, patient organizations, health foundations) may in future be involved via an advisory board.
The anticipated impact of the ecosystem will be of great importance for:
- The clinic:
- innovations for high volume health care and first-time-right diagnosis
- attraction of excellence
- education and training of medical staff
- scientific output
- implementation of value based health care
- fast track to implementation of innovations (transfers)
- inflow of highly educated new staff
- new medtech spin-offs
- The university:
- scientific output
- attraction of excellence
- education of medtech engineers
- The society:
- availability of value based health care
- increased value of the Eindhoven region
- economic benefit regarding high-tech industry