The Mobile Health Unit (MHU) is a multidisciplinary research unit in the domain of Mobile Healthcare. In May 2012 the MHU was established as part of the Limburg Clinical Research Program (LCRP) a structural collaboration between Hasselt University, Jessa Hospital and Hospital East-Limburg. The MHU aims to combine the fundamental knowledge available within the various research groups of Hasselt University with the clinical expertise in both hospitals to leverage mHealth research activities. Given the multidisciplinary character of mHealth research, we collaborate across different research disciplines in order to achieve a comprehensive view on mHealth. Hasselt University research groups and institutes provide expertise in medical, clinical, technological and socio-economical aspects of mHealth. The close collaboration across the three partner institutes results in an already extensive portfolio of mHealth projects. Those projects are all related to the mHealth innovation cycle covering fundamental and applied research, new technology development, technical and clinical validation and services for mHealth companies to stimulate economic valorisation. All our activities are in close cooperation with patients, healthcare specialists, academics and businesses.
Our focus domains are mHealth Research, mHealth Innovation and mHealth Business.
Multidisciplinary academic research and education
Strategic basic research – Researchers from Hasselt University perform strategic basic research on different topics which can be related to and interesting for the mHealth domain. E.g. research on new disease biomarkers, new wearable technologies for continuous monitoring, new prediction models & algorithms, quality of care indicators, cost-effectiveness models etc.
Applied research – The Mobile Health Unit aims to “combine and apply” the fundamental knowledge available within the various Departments of Hasselt University to support mobile health related activities and research projects within the hospitals East-Limburg and Jessa. Also applied research in cooperation with industrial partners or the government is possible in the form of contract research or by applying for grants at external funding agencies. The focus of our research projects is on the “remote care cycle” as shown in the illustration below.
Patiënts at home are equipped with various sensors to collect patient specific and contextual information. Those sensors can be invasive (pacemakers, ICD or CRT-D/P) or non-invasive (weight scales, devices to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, urine composition, wearables to measure physical activity, body temperature, bioimpedance, ECG, heart rate, …) or can be mobile like medical smartphone applications to collect information on location, emotional mood, eating behaviour, etc. All patient data (physical, physiological, contextual and environmental) are gathered by a generic healthcare hub or gateway, compatible with various types of sensory systems (often the smartphone). This gateway sends the data to a remote, cloud based platform needed to perform academic and clinic research on the topic of telemonitoring and data mining techniques essential for personalized and predictive medicine. A care center (health professionals, nurses, carers) can consult the data and provide patient feedback. Through the generation, dissemination/transfer and valorisation of new knowledge, the MHU aims to close the gap between knowledge, technology and the clinical practice.
Co-creation and validation of new mHealth technology with external research institutes and industrial partners.
Contract services and valorization of market ready products and services
The Mobile Health Unit is partner to plan, set-up and scientifically support clinical pilots or clinical trials like e.g. randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to validate new products, services or pathways in the domain of mobile healthcare. We also apply for grants at (EU) funding agencies. The MHU offers services for companies in the form of contract studies. For all actions concerning technology transfer or business formation we get legal advice & support from Hasselt University Technology Transfer Office (TTO).