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Project to promote health using data from the patients' smartphones

A new interdisciplinary research project aims at promoting health by analysing up-to-the-minute data, for example from patients' smartphones, and statistical data from the healthcare system. With DKK 20 mill. from Innovation Fund Denmark, two professors, one in public health and one in computer science, will be joining a number of companies, hospitals, local authorities and citizens to promote more personal treatment pathways.

2018.09.25 | Peter F. Gammelby

[Translate to English:] Carsten Obel og Kaj Grønbæk stående side om side i universitetsparken. Foto taget af Melissa B. Kirkeby Yildirim - AU Foto

Professor Carsten Obel from the Department of Public Health (left) and Professor Kaj Grønbæk from the Department of Computer Science will be working with public and private sector players on innovative approaches to prevention and treatment in the Danish health service. Photo: Melissa B. Kirkeby Yildirim - AU Foto


An increasing number of the elderly and chronically ill, as well as young people with mental problems and ever-rising costs in the healthcare system, mean that there is a need to rethink prevention and treatment.  

This is exactly what Professor Carsten Obel from the Department of Public Health and Professor Kaj Grønbæk from the Department of Computer Science will be doing, working with a large number of private and public players. They will enable the Danish healthcare system, and not least citizens themselves, to benefit from the new types of health data that people generate via mobile devices and new body-worn medical devices. At present, the Danish healthcare system is not geared to exploit the huge potential in this type of patient data.

Data 24 hours a day

Professor Kaj Grønbæk points out that there is a huge potential for many patient groups from gathering data around the clock between consultations, and analysing this data to continuously identify patterns in patients' illnesses.

"For example, epileptic seizures, blood-sugar fluctuations for diabetics and anxiety attacks can be understood and prevented much better if detailed data is collected from sensors on the patients that measure symptoms precisely in the situations where they arise," says Kaj Grønbæk.

The HealthD360 project will set up pilot examples of healthcare solutions that offer advanced continuous data analyses as well as a modern software and data infrastructure that can collect data from network-linked sensors and devices that patients can carry with them around the clock, at work and at home.

Close collaboration with the public

Such solutions require close collaboration with the public, patients and healthcare professionals within the two selected pilot areas: 1) mental health and obesity in children and young people; 2) wound care and health in the elderly. The aim is to develop new models for effective, personal and cohesive patient care, in which patients' privacy and data security has top priority. 

The project is based on a unique collaboration between public and private players to deal with data-security and GDPR challenges. The investment from Innovation Fund Denmark makes it possible for partners to coordinate their efforts in development of solutions for the healthcare sector that ensure that citizens' health data remains community property securely and to benefit all Danes.

Can prevent inequality

"There’s a huge potential in health data for innovative approaches to prevention and treatment, if we collaborate with citizens to develop safe and easy-to-use solutions. If we don’t reach out in projects like this, technology giants such as Google and Apple will in future develop and offer the best digital healthcare solutions themselves – and that will almost certainly be only for those who can afford to pay. In the long term, this may lead to greater inequality in healthcare," says Carsten Obel, who is heading the project.

HealthD360 is being conducted as a partnership between Aarhus University (Department of Public Health and Department of Computer Science), the Alexandra Institute, the Danish Technological Institute, Bispebjerg Hospital, Randers Regional Hospital, Cambio, Novax, Opus Consult, Kite Invent, Sundhed.dk, the Danish Regions’ clinical quality development programme (RKKP), Danske Patienter (an umbrella organisation for patients and their families) and the municipalities of Aarhus, Favrskov, Odder and Ringkøbing-Skjern.



Professor Carsten Obel
Aarhus University, Department of Public Health
Mobile: (+45) 29 42 84 05
Email: co@ph.au.dk

Professor and Head of Department Kaj Grønbæk
Aarhus University, Department of Computer Science
Mobile: (+45) 21 49 56 34
Email: kgronbak@cs.au.dk

Public / media, Staff
Tags: health data, healthcare, smartphones, wearables, innovation fund denmark, aarhus university, computer science, public-private innovation