It was only recently that he was still aiming to obtain his PhD degree, but in the meantime Roderick Treskes has already become a postdoc in the Cardiology department of the LUMC. His PhD research proved to be the foundation for research on eHealth in health care. Now, as a postdoc, it is his mission to greatly expand his research and to implement eHealth as the new standard for patient monitoring.
The importance of eHealth
And this is a very important development: “Patients have instant access to their personal data through this application. Because we enable them to monitor their own stats, we save a lot of time and increase the efficiency of measuring.” But it also increases transparency; both patients and medical doctors have access to the data.
When noticing something troublesome in the data, Roderick can contact the patients immediately: “Normally, a patient contacts us his- or herself when he/she is worried. We only contact the patient ourselves when we see something is wrong with the stats. We establish clear protocols with the patients about our way of communicating with each other.”
The next step
With his PhD research, Roderick was able to demonstrate the importance of telemonitoring in eHealth among patients that suffered from a cardic arrest. As a postdoc, Roderick now supervises his successor with the next step in his mission: expanding the usage of eHealth. Now, the department is also focusing eHealth on patients that have an implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), people with atrial fibrillation and people suffering from heart failure.
Leaving nothing to chance
To ensure that the usage of eHealth is as bulletproof as possible, Roderick has sought out collaborations with several experts from multiple disciplines and he continues to do so: “We have established valuable relationships with the Technical University in Delft regarding the cyber security of the application and with students and teachers of the study Industrial Design, with whom we think about a design that is as ergonomic as possible for the patients. We also collaborate with the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Leiden, because we also want to map the psychological effects of telemonitoring on patients.”
And thankfully most patients are very happy with this work approach. The psychological aspect of the research is aimed at how people experience monitoring themselves on a daily basis: “We try to create as low a threshold as possible for patients without giving them the feeling they are sick. Measuring only takes approximately three minutes, so we try to make it a part of one’s morning routine: ‘Oh, I have to brush my teeth, have a cup of joe, take my medicine and measure my stats’, something like that.”
Cardiology and the LUMC
“I work in a fantastic department. Everyone at the Department of Cardiology is willing to lend a hand and I have had great supervision of my professor. In addition, I have always had easy access to the Communications department, who help us immensely on how we communicate about eHealth. Furthermore, the LUMC has offered me a lot of space to continue to conduct research next to my residency. So I am not going anywhere else anytime soon!”