Trying to narrow that ICT adoption gap, a wide range of parameters needs to be considered when bringing a digital health technology to market:
- Is it safe to use? Is it effective?
- Is it user-friendly? Does it comply with medical professionals’ expectations?
- Is it interoperable with other (existing) systems and tools?
- Has a viable business model been defined that complies with (local) reimbursement models?
The imec Health Validation Lab aims at closing the adoption gap and assists digital health companies in creating sustainable solutions. It offers a testing and validation environment, where digital technologies can be tested against a few quintessential parameters.
“In our Health Validation Lab, we put our brains, methodologies and infrastructure at the disposal of teams and companies that want to assess the market-readiness of their newly-developed digital health solutions,” says Roger Lemmens – VP Incubation & Industry of imec.
“Our Health Validation Lab stands out because of its multi-faceted nature. First of all, we can assist in the clinical and regulatory validation process of new digital health services – which is key to their market introduction and uptake. But also the definition of practical use cases, research into usability aspects, and even more technical interoperability tests for deployment in various (inter)national ICT-settings can be conducted. Finally, we foresee support for the definition of a solid business case.”
Health Validation Lab activities
Recent exemplary activities of the imec Health Validation Lab are:
Its cooperation with the Flemish Agency for Care and Health regarding Vitalink, the digital platform of the Flemish government aimed at safely sharing health and care data. The imec Health Validation Lab assisted in the definition of practical use cases for several Vitalink projects – such as sharing patients’ medical files.
Electronic Patient Record
Its support of the Flemish Electronic Patient Record (EPV) Platform. The EPV platform brings together 27 Flemish hospitals that have committed to working together on building the ‘Electronic Patient Record of tomorrow’. The imec Health Validation Lab assists in running EPV projects on interoperability issues, and has put its testing and validation facilities at the disposal of the hospitals.
Care Living Labs
Its program office role in the framework of Flanders’ Care Living Labs. The Care Living Labs want to solve some of the challenges related to elderly care. It is a testing and experimentation space that allows local consortia of companies and care providers to create new care concepts, services, processes and products together with the end users, and test them in a real-world environment. Building on its expertise in the digital health domain, imec is responsible for the overall coordination of the Care Living Labs and the methodological support.
Its partnership in the European transnational initiative CrossCare. CrossCare brings together six Flemish and Dutch living lab initiatives to accelerate care innovations by supporting entrepreneurs in their experimental development. Imec leverages its extensive expertise on living lab methodology and its experience from the Care Living Labs initiative to help the program partners optimize their services.
Its coordination role of the MedTech Flanders initiative. MedTech Flanders is a joint initiative of 19 Flemish companies and organizations that want to strengthen the Flemish MedTech industry. Their ambition is to double the production and export of state-of-the-art Flemish medical technology over the next five years.
Citizen Health Empowerment
Its research into the growing attention for (and the challenges and potential of) citizen health empowerment. As more people are living longer than before and with chronic disease on the rise, disease prevention alone is no longer enough. Citizens need to take more control over their health – by getting better access to their personal health information and getting equipped with the tools and insights to better manage their lifestyles. Imec is taking a lead role in working with relevant stakeholders to develop, test and commercialize solutions that will realize the vision of citizen health empowerment – specifically by providing research and business support, user-driven co-creation opportunities through its Living Labs, and insights into the legal and ethical questions that still need to be answered.