Technical University of Denmark: New digital health study line at DTU

The digital health market is growing, and both the industry and the healthcare system are on the lookout for more engineers with skills in developing and designing solutions—from mobile apps to cloud-based solutions that can analyze large amounts of data using artificial intelligence (AI). This is why DTU is creating a new specialization in digital health, expanding student admission by a third to a total of 120 students.

“The new programme gives students the competences to develop digital technology that can both monitor the individual patient and compare the readings with data from a large sample of patients, among other things by utilizing cloud-based solutions and AI. This opens up completely new opportunities for doctors to offer the individual patient tailor-made rather than standard treatment,” says Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor at DTU Health Tech Kaj-Åge Henneberg.

More engineers in health care
According to figures from the interest organization IDA, the number of engineers in the Danish public health service has increased by 22 per cent since 2010, giving a total of 553 engineers directly employed in the healthcare system in 2019. The specialization in digital health is being created at a time when both hospitals and businesses are in direct need of new competences, says Peter Huntley, Managing Director, Medtech Denmark.

“The new programme gives students the competences to develop digital technology that can both monitor the individual patient and compare the readings with data from a large sample of patients, among other things by utilizing cloud-based solutions and AI.”
Kaj-Åge Henneberg, associate professor, DTU.
“This specialization is spot on both in terms of designing and developing mobile technologies and strengthening the competences in the design and implementation of major software systems, such as electronic health records. The public sector has been reluctant to utilize the potential of digitalization. A new strategy is needed and so are candidates with competences to develop and optimize the processes in hospitals,” says Peter Huntley.

Strong digital competences
Biomedical Engineering is a bachelor programme offered in a collaboration between DTU, the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen (KU), and Rigshospitalet. The first academic year of the programme is a basic study course with courses at both DTU and the University of Copenhagen. At DTU, the students will acquire competences within mathematics as well as analogue and digital measuring systems while at the University of Copenhagen, the students will complete courses in human biology and diseases. Students can subsequently choose one of two specializations in their second and third academic year.

The new Digital Health specialization provides the students with competences within:

• development of mobile apps and cloud-based technologies for collecting and storing patient data
• design and implementation of major software systems, e.g. electronic health records
• big data analysis using machine learning and AI.

The specialization courses focus on program development, database technology, data science, computer systems, Internet-of-Things (IoT), digital health systems, and standards for data exchange.The specialization is organized so the students can apply for jobs in private medicotechnical and health IT companies, in hospitals, in public IT departments, and in the Danish Health Data Authority.

Students can also choose the traditional specialization in Biomedical Engineering, where they are taught:

• calculations and simulations of physiological phenomena in the human body
• design of hospital equipment for diagnostics and treatment
• development of software that allows for the equipment to be operated and to analyze and present data to the user.

The specialization courses focus on physiological and technical calculations, prototype development of components for hospital equipment, and analysis of medical signals and images. The Biomedical Engineering gives the students competences that are in demand in private medical technology companies, in hospitals, in the public sector medicotechnical

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