Students work together with a person with a request for help

Written by: Christiane Grünloh, Stephanie Jansen-Kosterink, Marian Hurmuz


Five groups of students from the bachelor’s programme Creative Technology (CreaTe) at the University of Twente (UT) came up with creative solutions to solve issues from rehabilitation practice during the Remote Care Nearby course!


We offer the course Remote Care Nearby for several years now. Researchers Christiane Grünloh, Stephanie Jansen-Kosterink and Marian Hurmuz teach and supervise these students. From Roessingh, Centre for Rehabilitation, programme coordinator innovation Ina Flierman and rehabilitation physician Reinout van Vliet are involved. In April, the students completed the course. During their final lecture, they pitched their solution within the rehabilitation centre Roessingh.


The students worked together with (former) patients of Roessingh, who were each allowed to propose a practical challenge. The students' assignment was to work with these persons to explore this challenge in depth and find out the actual problem behind it, and then come up with a solution with the help of technology. Prototypes were developed, on which patients could give their opinions and which were tested with patients. The results of these user tests were then fed into a new version of a prototype, leading to a final version which was pitched.


Group 1: The Blank-AID

It is very annoying when you wake up at night, have it too hot and can't get the blanket down a bit yourself. Or when it has cooled down and you keep having to wake up your partner to help you with the blanket. When the person asked “How can I make sure I don't have to ask my partner to pull my blanket up or down during the night?”, this group came up with the following idea: rings are made on the duvet cover, through which hooks with ropes are attached. These are attached to two small motors, which can move the blanket up and down. Because arm/hand function can be too impaired, the choice was made not to operate with a button, but with a touch sensor. This makes it very user-friendly for many disabilities and conditions.


The students created a video showcasing their progress when developing the prototype. Click here to watch this video!


Group 2: Brei-De-Hand (Knit-The-Hand)

When your arm/hand function has deteriorated to the extent that you can no longer perform your hobby of knitting, it takes away some of the joy of life. This person's question was much broader at first, namely “The problem I am facing is that I can only use my left (lower) arm, especially my left hand, to a very limited extent. This is occasionally difficult for balance (catching) and it limits me in certain activities I liked to do.” In discussions with the students, who were tasked with properly defining the problem, it emerged that her question was, “How can I continue to perform my hobby of knitting with a deteriorated arm/hand function?”. The solution the students came up with was the Brei-De-Hand. A band that goes around the upper arm, where you insert the back of the knitting needle to keep it in the right place. In addition, a wooden support, which can be attached with one hand, on which the centre of the knitting needle rests.


The person already has this prototype in use and is enjoying immensely the fact that she can now knit again

“Over the past few months, I was lucky enough to take part in a project in which a group of UT students were able to come up with a solution to a problem I faced after my brain infarct. From the ‘problems’ I had indicated, my students came up with a solution for no longer being able to knit, which is one of my biggest hobbies. The whole process lasted 10 weeks and I enjoyed it SO much! The students were enthusiastic, sweet and it worked: I can knit again - with one hand! I super enjoyed taking part in this project and not just because I can knit again, I would do it again in a heartbeat.”


The students were also very pleased that they could deliver a prototype that can be used, as one of the students points out:

“Over the past few weeks, I have been working with 5 other students from the University of Twente on a project for Roessingh, Centre for Rehabilitation. Right from the start, we were very motivated to find a solution to the problem that was presented. It was incredibly nice to work with this person and to see that she also enjoys this project so much. After many adjustments, the prototype has been tuned to her and she can finally knit again! This outcome is better than we as a group could have hoped for and it has given us great satisfaction to see that we have been able to help her further.”


Group 3: Rehapp

The mental piece is incredibly important during rehabilitation. This person became very frustrated because he thought he was making little progress. He did not have a good picture of his new normal and could not compare, so he did not see how well he was actually doing. His question was therefore “How can I gain more insight into my progress so that I don't become demotivated?” The students came up with the idea of an app, in which persons can create activities, such as walking for 5 minutes. Each time they perform the activity, they keep track of their progress like a diary. Here, they can use text, media, but also emojis to indicate their mood. Through a graph, the app clearly shows the progress of the rehabilitation. By sharing this with friends and family, they can also start the conversation when it appears that the person is less satisfied or not feeling well.


Group 4: Hoist tillift

“How can I lift my daughter out of the wheelchair and into the wheelchair with a lift that I can take to appointments?” A good question, as the current folding lift was heavy, large and inconvenient. The students came up with a smaller version, made of lightweight material, that can offer much more freedom. With small wheels attached to an extra footrest, which can be applied to all kinds of wheelchairs via an adapter, the wheelchair remains well balanced and does not become top-heavy. The lift can lift as much as a maximum weight of 150 kilos, making it also suitable for adults.


Group 5: Hoop

This person with ALS still enjoys cycling tremendously every day, about 20 kilometres a day in a modified tricycle. Because with ALS, the strength in the muscles keeps decreasing, this also brings more and more challenges. The question the students started working on is “How can I get from my wheelchair to my tricycle independently?” For this, they came up with Hoop. A kind of half hoop, attached to the ceiling in a rail. The person places their wheelchair on the designated spot. Hoop then comes over the person from above, where he just attaches his arms over the hoop. A resting moment is built in and then the device slowly rises. The person can then step with the Hoop to reach the desired spot. This replaces the rollator, making less demands on the muscular strength of the arms. Independence is the most important factor here.


We are very proud of what the students learnt during Remote Care Nearby and, of course, what they delivered. The cooperation between students and a person with a need for help has, as far as we are concerned, but also as far as the students are concerned, a major added value to the course! Are you interested in combining a study subject with care practice and looking for help with this? Get in touch with us!

Christiane Grünloh

Christiane Grünloh


Tel: 088 087 5723

Stephanie Jansen-Kosterink


Tel: 088 087 5717

Marian Hurmuz


Tel: 088 087 5771

Workshop digital collaboration with patients: values and digital collaboration through Telerehabilitation in Roessingh

Written by: Christiane Grünloh


In March 2021, together with colleagues from IKONE Foundation we explored the questions:

  • What is the value of digital collaboration through Telerehabilitation (Telerehabilitation) at Roessingh for patient and caregiver?
  • What gives professional and patient energy in this process of collaboration?
  • What is needed to have confidence in getting started with Telerevalidatie?


Why is that important?

All of our stories are filled with values. Values are beliefs about what is desirable. Values refer to what is important to people in their lives. They are often unsaid, yet they are of great importance in our daily actions. In fact, decisions are often based on values. Sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously.

Values are general criteria or principles that provide guidance in:

  • making decisions;
  • setting goals;
  • taking actions.

When we develop technologies, we often talk about how important it is, that we include the users, so that we understand what their needs and requirements are. But, whether intentionally or not, technology supports or hinders other aspects that people consider important. In other words, technology cannot be considered value-neutral.

Take as an example a triage system that automatically generates triage scores, gives healthcare professionals the option to overwrite these scores, but requires them to justify the overwriting before they are allowed to proceed. According to research this discourages professionals from using this feature, makes them feel like they are making a mistake, potentially undermines their confidence and hinders them from exercising their professional authority. So it is also important to identify people's values so that we can factor this into the development and deployment of technology.

Together with healthcare professionals, patients and researchers from RRD, IKONE conducted a workshop, where after a round of knowledge we heard a story of experience from a patient expert from IKONE and a patient from the Roessingh. These stories were the basis for talking about values, what energizes patients and caregivers, to work together within telerehabilitation.


Report Values Dialogue Telerevalidatie

Even though the workshop was conducted three years ago, the outcomes are important to us, so we would like to make them public here as well. IKONE's report is available also in Dutch here The most important values are presented below:

Efficiency and commitment
  • As a patient, you can also connect faster with your healthcare professional.
  • In paediatric rehabilitation, efficiency is experienced through the Telerevalidatie portal. This goes from parent to professional as well as from professional to parent. Parents sent a video of a child. Often they do this the very next day. It is also very nice to see that parents can see videos of the child. They are thus more intensely involved with the child.
  • It is also literally much faster and more pleasant. Sometimes professionals watch videos of each other. That is also very pleasant. We see from each other what we are working on regarding a particular patient. Based on that, you can align goals.
  • You become more of a team, you work more together!
Independence and self-direction
  • People feel more independent by using the portal. You can be active with the portal at your own time and place. A statement that fits with this is, “Finally I can do something on my own again.” It's not just about contact with the caregiver.
  • A lot of information also becomes accessible to the patient. That also feels more 'independent'. You can regain your own control. This allows you to better prepare for the conversation with the healthcare provider, for example. Or you can look back at your own medical data. For example, how was my physical health last time?


Do you want to read more about these values? Or do you want to know what gives confidence/trust to be able to express the named values within the collaboration? Click here to read more (only available in Dutch).

We would like to thank IKONE, the patients and healthcare professionals for their time and their trust sharing with us their stories and values.


Values in care and technology

If you have comments or ideas around values in care and technology: Please contact Christiane Grünloh, senior researcher at RRD, who works on value-sensitive eHealth design.

Christiane Grünloh

Christiane Grünloh


Tel: 088 087 5723

Pharaon: Some preliminary conclusions from AdSysCo and Christiane Grünloh

Last year Christiane Grünloh was interviewed by Dirk Winkel, Manager of Marketing, Communication & Sales at AdSysCo to talk about the Pharaon project. Below is a repost of this interview (


In early 2020, at the initiative of the European Commission, the Pharaon project started. Pharaon aimed to explore the extent to which digital technologies can support the lives of older people. In Pharaon, AdSysCo participates with the RegiCare customer portal. A higher quality of life with digital discoveries, that's what it's all about.

The Pharaon study will be completed at the end of 2024. So it's too early for final conclusions, but there are already some preliminary. This is evident from a conversation we had with Dr. Christiane Grünloh, senior researcher at RRD and responsible for the smooth running of the six Pharaon pilots. Christiane has long been researching the adoption of technology solutions in healthcare. 

In these six pilots in five countries, all sorts of different technologies are being tried ranging from sensors that monitor people's safety to various forms of video calling via TV. In some care organizations, robots are being tested. In the Netherlands, the emphasis is on social contact around the outings of the PlusBussen of the National Fund for the Elderly. The RegiCare customer portal supports these social activities with digital contact. 

Just after Pharaon started, the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. "This risk was not foreseen in any project plan," said Christiane, "Due to the new measures, our target group (older adults who may be vulnerable) was almost immediately inaccessible to researchers in all countries, at least physically, while the research requires a lot of interaction with the target group." Delay was not an option for the EU, after all, everyone had committed to the program. Besides, Pharaon is all about information and communication technology, so researchers and designers are also creative to explore other ways to interact with people.

The kick-off meeting was still held in-person in Pisa, but after that Pharaon played out behind (boring) computer screens for two years. Due to the pandemic, the recruitment of older adults for the study got off to a slow start. All in all, the Pharaon study has to make do with a limited number of participants, and this applies to all pilots. For quantitative research, this presents a challenge, so more effort has also been put into qualitative research such as interviews. "Of course it is not great to have fewer participants than promised in the research proposal. But there is also an opportunity to go more into depth. Why do people participate or not? What challenges do they run into in their daily lives when they have to start using technology. These insights are super important," Christiane says.


Development for and with users

People in healthcare and welfare also had a high workload during the pandemic and hardly any additional capacities available. In addition to the pandemic, doubts against the use of technologies also played a role in many places. "I don't know it", "it doesn't work", "I don't get it" and "what's in it for me?". In Pharaon, we came across all kinds of arguments to not use a solution, and they were all justified. 

Technology can improve care and also make it more efficient and cheaper, Christiane knows, but it has to be developed for and with the users to take their needs into account, and that's often the crux of the matter. "I don't know it", "it doesn't work", "I don't get it" and "what's in it for me?" is well known. Close end-user involvement in the design and step-by-step building and testing of a digital solution for care and well-being is necessary to reduce these problems. "If we develop technology together with the target group and thereby ensure that it really connects with users' needs and values, we can increase acceptance, stimulate use and ultimately have effect and impact," Christiane has learned from her many research projects.


Development of RegiCare

AdSysCo recognizes this well. New developments in the RegiCare suite, such as the mobile applications and the customer portal, are developed for and with users. This also applies to the implementation: active involvement and ownership of users is a key success factor. Simply making a nice solution with lots of functionality available without actively involving the end-user in the how, the what and the why misses the mark. "Not the technical solution but the user experience determines success" says Christiane. "It does take more time, but do you want a cheap solution that doesn't work or a slightly more expensive solution that does?" she says smiling.

Once the research is complete, there will be a follow-up conversation between AdSysCo and Christiane.

The importance of focus groups

Written by: Eline te Braake

Conducting focus groups is a common method in qualitative research. It's a good way to investigate certain opinions, current issues, and motivations. The latter, motivations, is often something that arises from the dialogues that not only the researcher has with the participants in a focus group, but which also naturally results from the interaction between the participants in the group. For example, a focus group can very nicely result in finding out 'the question behind the question'. That, in our opinion, should be central to the conduct of any focus group. However, this is not always the case.

‘Reading through’ focus groups

Since we are currently bombarded with the word 'focus group' in the research world, we lose a bit of its actual essence. What often happens in practice is that a list with a number of questions is simply 'read through’. You may wonder what the added value is of holding such a focus group, if the same questions could have been answered in a questionnaire. In addition, people take effort to make time and agree to participate with an intention to share their opinions: to feel heard. Thus, there should also be enough time and space for this during a focus group. Why burden people with a focus group, when we could have put the exact same questions in a questionnaire that they could have filled out from their homes and in their own time? Therefore, it is up to the researcher to reflect whether a focus group is indeed the most suitable method for answering the proposed research question. 


The actual added value

But what is the importance of focus groups? What can we get out of it and where is the added value? In our view, the beauty of focus groups lies in that you take the time to sit together, reflect on what is really needed, and find out where the current bottleneck really lies. Something that you can't really determine or plan in advance despite the predetermined protocols. This is also something that doesn't always come up naturally during a focus group. It is therefore up to the researcher to create a safe environment, to give space for dialogue in the group, to find starting points in the conversations that are held, and to ask questions about what is really important to the participants. Only this way, a focus group can lead to new insights that could not have been captured by other methods.


Making use of the dynamics of the group

In addition, a focus group also distinguishes itself from other methods in that it is held in a group. On the one hand, this means that the researcher also has to take into account the dynamics in the group. This entails that everyone should feel comfortable, feel heard, and everyone should have the opportunity to speak. On the other hand, this dynamic can be used in a positive way. Participants learn from each other, recognize themselves in each other’s situation, help each other if something is not understood, and make each other think. As a result, new insights often arise that have been obtained with and through each other.

There is so much to get out of a focus group that are more difficult to achieve with other methods. It's true that organizing and performing a good focus group takes a lot of time, but when done well, it gives so much more meaning to the topics that, according to the participants, really matter!


Do you also want to set up a focus group, but do you need help? Please contact us for the possibilities!

Eline te Braake

Eline te Braake


Tel: 088 087 5734


The start of TREAT: Transforming healthcare through semantic interoperability and patient self-efficacy

Written by: Erik Prinsen

We are excited to be a partner in the newly started ITEA-project called TREAT. The TREAT project aims to increase patient self-efficacy in managing non-communicable disorders including diabetes, cardiac events and osteoarthritis by integrating data from wearables, journals and medical records. Through that, we aim to move healthcare access from the clinic into the patient’s daily life. In addition we aim to improve the health management skills of the patient. The project will develop novel wearables and software-based solutions to improve patient self-efficacy while driving clinical efficiencies.

Within ITEA-projects national use cases exist that work together under a common framework. The Dutch use case will focus on the development of a wearable and feedback system for individuals with diabetes mellitus that also suffer from osteoarthritis. This system will focus on stimulating healthy movement behavior in the target population. RRD will be involved in the end-user engagement, definition of the patient journey and the evaluation of the developed system.

After an exciting kick-off in Canmore, Canada, and the national kick-off in the beautiful city of Den Bosch we are ready to start improving the healthcare for individuals with diabetes mellitus and osteoarthritis!

Interested to read more about this project? Read more on the website: ITEA 4 - Project - 22022 TREAT


20240327 TREAT
Erik Prinsen

Erik Prinsen


Tel: 088 087 5761


Writing a new project proposal: engaging with the target audience before you start

Written by: Eline te Braake and Marian Hurmuz

When writing a new project proposal, end-users are often not included. This can be due to various reasons, such as time pressure, procedures or not having access to the right end-users. As a result, the project proposal is often written by researchers only and they also mostly shape the intended goals of the project. The end-user is then involved once the project is approved. A disadvantage of involving end-users at a later stage, is that the intended purpose of the project proposal does not fit with the end-users’ actual needs. To try to avoid this problem, and thus better match end-users' needs, we collected input from end-users before writing the project proposal. In this news post, we tell you what this brought us.


Set-up of end-user meeting

With two researchers and panel members, we took a first step towards this 'new' way of working. On the 15th of February, they met and a focus group on medication adherence took place. The aim of the focus group was to find out what the facilitators and barriers are for being compliant. During the meeting, we went through the following 6 main categories:

  • Patient-related factors
  • Disease-related factors
  • Treatment-related factors
  • Healthcare and system related factors
  • Social and cultural factors
  • Logistical and financial factors

For each category, panel members were given time to write down their experiences and share them with the group. In addition to these categories, there was also an option at the end to name other factors that they perceived as promoting or hindering, but did not fit under any of the previous categories.


Results end-user meeting

During the meeting, the group was able to discuss with each other the different factors. During the discussion, we noticed that many factors recurred under several categories. One frequently recurring factor that hindered medication adherence was cost. The examples mentioned were:

  • Costs for explanation about the medication at the pharmacy
  • Costs for typing a label (which is more expensive than the medication itself)
  • Parking costs for picking up the medication from the pharmacy
  • Paying the deductible excess (related to Dutch health insurance)

Other examples of barriers they experienced were the different intake times of medication, limited availability of the medication and, with this, often the long delivery time of a medicine at the pharmacy. With regard to intake times, this mainly concerns intake before/during/after a meal. These meals do not always take place at the same time. Some medications are really only allowed to be taken after 24 hours, so there is often not enough time between taking them.

In addition to these barriers, panel members could also discuss factors that facilitate medication adherence. These factors, although fewer were mentioned, were all very relevant, for example:

  • Receiving sufficient information about the medication
  • Having good contact with the healthcare professional and good communication between the different healthcare professionals
  • Taking a medication where you notice the effect yourself


Are you curious to see the entire list of factors? These are available in Dutch. Click here to open it. Do you want to have this information in English? Contact the researchers below.


This kind of meeting was a very fun and instructive way of working, and it helped us to learn a lot about how the target group views the influencing factors in medication adherence. This 'new' approach allows us to include the target group's wishes in the project proposal in order to better meet their needs. Would you also like to hold a focus group to identify the needs of the target group in order to write a project proposal? Please contact us for the possibilities!


Eline te Braake

Eline te Braake


Tel: 088 087 5734


Marian Hurmuz


Tel: 088 087 5771


First PhD defence of 2024 by Kira Oberschmidt about guidelines for active involvement of stakeholders in eHealth Action Research!

Written by: Marian Hurmuz

Last Friday, the first RRD PhD defence of 2024 took place! Kira Oberschmidt defended her PhD thesis, titled: “Who, When, How: Guiding the active involvement of stakeholders in eHealth Action Research”. Action Research (AR) is a collaborative research approach in which stakeholders play an active role as co-researchers. AR fits the context of eHealth research well, as its key elements can hopefully ensure a better match between the technology being developed or implemented and the needs of relevant stakeholders. Ideally, stakeholders should take on a very active role and shape the research. However, oftentimes, neither the researcher nor the stakeholders are used to working in this way. Therefore, support is needed in terms of sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learned between projects. Yet, in AR publications explicit reflection and description of these lessons learned is often missing. This makes it difficult for AR projects to learn from each other. Kira has dedicated her PhD to provide guidance for researchers setting up their project, and specifically to support the active involvement of stakeholders. She developed a framework on stakeholder involvement in eHealth AR projects. On Friday the 19th of January (2024), she defended her thesis, which you can find here.

Kira’s thesis covers the following topics:

  • Reviewing literature to identify what is currently known about AR in eHealth projects (context of these projects, definition of AR, how to conduct AR, best practices and lessons learned from AR in eHealth projects).
  • Studying novice action researchers’ attitude towards AR.
  • Investigating how champions see their role and whether this changes over the course of AR projects.
  • Investigating the motivation of stakeholders participation in long-term, time-consuming research projects like AR.
  • Identifying how to involve participants unplanned and spontaneously.
  • Studying the alignment of interests and needs of different stakeholders in a project, in terms of what they want to achieve from the project.
  • Providing a structured way for researchers to reflect together with project partners
  • Investigating the important elements of stakeholder skill training to enable them to be involved and to enable them to interact with each other.
  • Describing an iterative method to involve patients, their perspectives and lived experiences in research

Taking into account all the recommendations made in her thesis, Kira developed a framework for stakeholder engagement in eHealth AO projects. This framework describes important issues to consider in such a project. Her framework is available on our website:

We are very proud of Kira and her hard work at RRD! And we are happy that Kira continues working at RRD for the next steps in her career!

20240119 PhD Kira (4)
20240119 PhD Kira (25)

PhD defence of Martin Tenniglo: Stiff Knee Gait in Stroke!

Written by: Marian Hurmuz

Last week, the last RRD PhD defence of 2023 took place! Martin Tenniglo defended his PhD thesis, titled: “Stiff knee gait in stroke: Walking down the road of different treatment options”. Stroke survivors often struggle with functional consequences: cognitive, emotional, sensory and motor impairments. These functional consequences lead to limitations in daily life. Of which a common problem is stiff knee gait. Many times, this problem arises due to abnormal activity of the rectus femoris during the swing phase. Two options are available for assessing this abnormal activity. But are these also suitable in this group of people? There are also several treatment options to reduce stiff knee gait. But how effective are these? Martin has dedicated his PhD to this topic. On Thursday the 7th of December (2023), he defended his thesis, which you can find here.


Martin's thesis covers the following topics:

  • Identifying the effect of Motor Branch Block (MBB) or NeuroMuscular Block (NMB) of the rectus femoris on knee kinematics and functional outcomes.
  • Identifying the diagnostic value of the Duncan Ely test in predicting abnormal rectus femoris activity in people after stroke who walk with a stiff knee.
  • Investigating the effect of functional electrical stimulation of the hamstrings in stroke survivors with a stiff knee gait.
  • Investigating the effect of Botulinum toxin injection in the rectus femoris in stroke survivors with a stiff knee gait.
  • Investigating the effect of rectus femoris transfer in stroke survivors with a stiff knee gait.


Martin ends his thesis with 6 key messages he wants to share with the clinic and that can be applied in the clinical setting. He also indicates where the focus should be on future research related to this topic.

We are very proud of Martin and his hard work! His research has meant a lot to both science and the clinic. The three different treatment options he studies are also applied at Roessingh, Centre for Rehabilitation. Martin continues his work as a physiotherapist, gait specialist and as a specialist in electrical stimulation. Amongst others, he works on the development of a knee flexion device and on the investigation of the effect of a chemodenervation in the vastii and rectus femoris. We wish him the best of luck in his career!


20231207 Defence Martin (5)
20231207 Defence Martin (3)

SenSeeAct is now open-source: allowing digital health developers to benefit from and build on top of our software platform

Written by: Dennis Hofs


We have just released the first open-source version of SenSeeAct, our software platform that has driven many of our research projects and applications for more than ten years. During that time the platform has gone through several iterations, growing into a mature, flexible and secure backend with web portals and mobile apps.

The name SenSeeAct reflects the functionalities that the platform focuses on.


Sense: Collecting data through questionnaires, diaries, wearables, and smart home devices.

See: Presenting the data in user-friendly ways to both end users and health care professionals.

Act: Coaching users toward healthier behaviour with virtual agents, video exercises and gamification.


We now published the SenSeeAct backend as open-source software to help stimulate health technology innovation and collaboration. It facilitates the development of new applications by third parties, and enables organizations to take full control of their data ownership and access.


We are continuously improving the platform. Some of the new features that we anticipate in the near future are:

  • Enhanced support to author your own questionnaires and use them in our mobile app with your own backend.
  • Improved security with two-factor authentication.
  • A web interface to download your data or the data of your research participants.
  • A major update of our iOS app bringing it to the same level as the Android app.
  • Extending our earlier announced collaboration with DialogueBranch toolkit by Fruit Tree Labs.
  • More documentation and guides to help you get started with the open-source backend.

Read more about it at



Dennis Hofs


Tel: 088 087 5763


Major research starts to tackle osteoarthritis on a tailor-made basis

By 2040, osteoarthritis is likely to be the most common chronic disease in the Netherlands. Currently, almost 1.5 million people in our country have osteoarthritis. The nature and extent of the symptoms may vary, but they always have an impact on people’s daily life. Osteoarthritis progresses differently for everyone, which requires tailor-made treatment. In order to be able to offer this as good as possible, insight is needed into the characteristics of the person and the disease process. Until now, that insight has been lacking. But this is about to change thanks to the funded research efforts of a unique partnership.

In November, researchers from the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Clinical Movement Sciences & Technology (ICMS) will start with the TopTreat project. They will follow 500 people with osteoarthritis over the next five years and will comprehensively map their characteristics. The aim is to gain insight into who qualifies for which treatment. The reason for this is because universal treatment is not effective for everyone due to the fact that the diversity among people with osteoarthritis is quite large.


Measuring and knowing precisely with a unique technology platform

This is the first time that the various manifestations of osteoarthritis are being measured with advanced technology and collected in a platform. The aim is to map extremely accurately how people with osteoarthritis feel, how they move, how their disease develops and which medicine is most effective for whom. Because physical, psychological and social factors all play a role in health, researchers are looking at the whole spectrum, from cell to well-being, and are conducting the study in consultation with the patients themselves. The insights from the study make it possible to optimally tailor treatment to the person with osteoarthritis. 

The promise of improvement

The research includes existing technologies such as 'joint-on-a-chip', accurate measurements of substances in the body that are indicative of the disease (biomarkers), analysis of movement with sensors, and making computer models of joint movement and load on cartilage. In doing so, the researchers aim to understand and capture specific characteristics of people with osteoarthritis. Based on these insights, practitioners can determine the most promising treatment for their patient.

Broad inclusion

Besides people with advanced osteoarthritis, two groups with an increased risk of osteoarthritis formation will also participate in the study. These are people with a broken or removed meniscus or with a leg amputation.

Moving forward together

TopTreat has a significant relevance for the progress of care of people with osteoarthritis. Moreover, the project is expected to develop a technology platform that is patent-worthy, and can be quickly translated into more healthcare applications. With this ambitious project, ICMS aims to maximise clinical and societal progress.

About ICMS

The Interdisciplinary Consortium for Clinical Movement Sciences & Technology (ICMS) is a unique partnership between RadboudUMC, Sint Maartenskliniek, Roessingh Research and Development and the TechMed Centre of the University of Twente. In TopTreat, these partners work together with ReumaNederland, the companies ATRO Medical and Moveshelf, the Rheumatism Foundation Sint Maartenskliniek, the Twente Graduate School and the Dutch Ministry of Defence. Together with funding from the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation High-tech Systems & Materials, the project involves about EUR 4.8 million.


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