The agreement unites Holst Centre and imec’s technology expertise with ZOL’s clinical excellence to focus the development of remote monitoring where it is most relevant to the healthcare domain, and enable rapid validation of new technologies and applications.
Real-time, wearable remote healthcare monitoring could revolutionize the treatment of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Diagnosed patients wouldn’t need to visit the hospital as often or for as long, while healthy people in high risk groups could benefit from an unobtrusive system that provides early warning of a condition developing.
The partnership between Holst Centre, imec and ZOL aims to speed up the development of such systems. Clinicians from ZOL and the Mobile Health Unit (a joint initiative between ZOL and Hasselt University) will test Holst Centre and imec’s wearable remote monitoring technologies on real patients in real clinical settings. In this way, the partners aim to answer questions such as “How comfortable are the devices to wear?” and “Can they detect conditions like heart arrhythmias?”.
In addition, the partners will share clinical and technical insights to identify ways in which wearable remote monitoring technology can better address unmet healthcare needs. This will lead to improvements to existing solutions and the development of new applications. The long-term nature of the partnership will also allow a more exploratory aspect to the joint research, to address clinical needs that may emerge in the future.
“Combining clinical insight and technical know-how is essential for the timely development of remote monitoring systems. But partnerships between hospitals and technology developers are rare as it is hard for partners to find each other. In Holst Centre and imec, we have partners at the forefront of technology development who can apply the medical insights we offer right from the start to create technologies that really meet the needs of patients and healthcare professionals,” said Lars Grieten, project coordinator at ZOL.
“ZOL and the Mobile Health Unit lead the way in deploying tele-monitoring technologies in Belgium. They are a natural fit for our own vision of wearable health stretching from the hospital to the home. By bringing together two groups who are dedicated to exploring the same questions but from different and complementary perspectives, we will be better able to proactively address the pain points facing healthcare professionals today and in the future,” said Julien Penders, program manager at Holst Centre/imec.
The partnership is already seeing results. At November’s Wireless Health 2013, the partners presented a small pilot study on the use of wearable sensors to detect sleep apnea.
Imec (imec.be) performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of more than 2,000 people includes more than 650 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2012, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 320 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.)and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).
About Holst Centre
Holst Centre (holstcentre.com) is an independent open-innovation R&D center that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.
Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 150 employees from around 25 nationalities and a commitment from more than 30 industrial partners.
About East-Limburg Hospital (Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, ZOL)
Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg was established in 1995 after the merger of three regional hospitals. The health facility offers 811 beds, scattered over 3 campuses in the Belgian province of Limburg: campus André Dumont (Waterschei), campus St.-Barbara (Lanaken) and campus St.-Jan (Genk). Apart from general, regional health services, ZOL also offers a series of important medical expertises within a euregional context (Maternal Intensive Care, Neonatal Intensive Care, Heart surgery, Neurosurgery, Centre of Fertility, ...). A team of 300 doctors and more than 2850 other health professionals, work each day to achieve the mission of the hospital: offering patient-friendly, high quality healthcare.
About Hasselt University
Hasselt University (Dutch: Universiteit Hasselt, UHasselt) is a university with campuses in Hasselt and Diepenbeek, Belgium. True to its baseline 'Knowledge in action', Hasselt University (uhasselt.be) is an innovative and dynamic university an institution which provides for a qualified workforce, locally adapted research, appropriate services and technologies for the region. The university has six faculties (Law, Sciences, Business Economics, Medicine & Life Sciences, Architecture & Arts and Engineering Technology) and seven research institutes (which cover a wide range of research areas: biomedical, environmental, statistical, material, transportation research, innovation management research and media technology research). UHasselt is home to about 5,500 students and 1,200 academic, administrative and technical staff members. The university has an extensive international network and develops joint programs with universities in Flanders and The Netherlands.