Professor of digital health care appointed in Seinäjoki

18 March 2021

Tampere University established a professorship in the field of digital health care. Professor Mark van Gils took up the post on 1.1.2021.

The position is part of the multidisciplinary Epanet university network of the five universities belonging to the University Consortium of Seinäjoki (UCS).

The University Association of South Ostrobothnia collects and coordinates funding, brings together actors in the region and manages the project on behalf of the partners. The partners are UCS, the city of Seinäjoki, the Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia and LähiTapiola South Ostrobothnia.

At the moment 24 professors or research group leaders are working in South Ostrobothnia. Almost all the posts are funded by donations and cooperation agreements. The co-operation network not only gathers resources, but also shares valuable information and know-how in the region.

Data analytics and machine learning

The research included in the professorship focuses on the utilisation of data analytics and machine learning in health care, and the exploitation of health care information. The aim is also to develop new applications for both personalised and participatory health care, especially telemedicine, home care and preventive health care.

“The goal is to optimise health care resources and improve the patient’s quality of life especially in certain patient groups,” says van Gils.

“With digitalisation tools, we may, for example, improve diagnostics by combining information sources and use that to link to appointment scheduling and treatment planning. For example, magnetic resonance and X-ray images, signals, and texts are interpreted and combined based on data analysis,” van Gils continues.

Van Gils and his research group are producing new scientific knowledge that supports the application of digitalisation in health care. The information is then used to aid decision-making and enable development work in regional hospitals, companies and R&D organisations. In addition, the aim is to build an international and national cooperation network to enhance development work in the field.

“Data aggregation is one of the general themes in my research,” van Gils says.

“Data can be combined from different sources such as biobanks, measuring devices used at home, observations made at outpatient clinics, and hospitals. The idea is that combining information from all these sources gives a full picture of the patient and his or her background,” van Gils explains.

Van Gils is an expert in medical information technology and has researched data analytics in health care information systems. Most recently, he worked as a research professor at VTT where he also held other research posts since 1996.

Enquiries: Professor Mark van Gils, [email protected]


Source: Media Release by Tampere University 11st January 2021

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