You begin to specialise in the second year of your studies by choosing one of the five specialisations. Your choice should be based not only on your interests, but also on the master’s programme you intend to follow and your career plans. The study advisors of the faculty can help you make an appropriate choice.
Digital Technology and Care
Technological developments transform healthcare: from applications such as eHealth, robotics, smart home devices, Internet of Things to management information systems.
These new technological developments not only change the quality of care for patients but also change the daily work of healthcare professionals. However, the successful implementation of these applications doesn’t go without a struggle. Often, the people who invent and develop technology are not the ones who are going to use it every day. Since future technological innovations are going to keep transforming healthcare, we need to ‘close the gap’ between IT specialist and technology developers and healthcare. We are in need of ‘linking pins’!
Within the Digital Technology and Care specialisation, you will study the following topics at an academic level:
How can we limit the gap between the worlds of IT and healthcare?
What is the impact of eHealth applications in and outside healthcare organisations?
How can technological innovations be implemented to improve quality of care?
How do you ensure that healthcare organisations are ‘innovation ready’ regarding technological innovations?
What role do Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Datascience play in future healthcare?
What role does ethics play regarding technology in healthcare?
What does the constant development of technology entail for our society and our healthcare?
Is knowledge of technology and ICT necessary?
Certainly not! You enter as a basic health scientist, and not as a computer science student. It is still the Health Sciences programme: you learn a lot about healthcare, but also the basics of programming. In principle, you can start this specialisation without any technical knowledge, but a little involvement is useful.
In your future career, you are the 'linking pin' - the bridge builder - who on the one hand understands where current and future challenges lie in healthcare, and on the other hand can propose, (co)develop, implement and evaluate technological solutions and possibilities to address these challenges. The question that you will always keep in mind is therefore: "How can the development and implementation of new technological innovations improve the quality of healthcare and what is needed to achieve this?"
You will probably work at organisations and institutions that are working on their digital transformation. As an expert in both ICT and healthcare, you are ideal to lead this process. This is possible at hospitals, general practitioners, mental healthcare institutions and other healthcare institutions, but also at ICT companies, for example.
Biology and Health
Biology and Health is focused on how nutrition, exercise and the environment effect the development of diseases. You learn how biological systems and structures try to keep the body healthy, and how various external factors can impair and unsettle bodily functions. This requires a basic biological knowledge as well as epidemiology, behavioural sciences and medicine. You explore issues like:
- Is the incidence of certain health problems rising or dropping?
- What are the reasons and what are the implications for this?
- What can we do to prevent certain problems and what is the best way to study them?
Mental Health Sciences
Within the track Mental Health Sciences you study the biological, psychological and social cultural aspects of psychopathology. The latter includes disorders such as depression, neuropsychological disorders such as dementia, developmental disorders such as autism and ADHD and anxiety disorders such as phobias.
As a Mental Health student at the UM, you study the causes of these disorders and the factors involved. What makes the programme unique is that you also get trained in diagnostic skills (determining whether someone is suffering from a disorder) and therapeutic skills (treatment methods). These training courses are based on knowledge and experience from the GGZ work field.
Policy, Management and Evaluation of Health Care
During the Policy, Management and Evaluation of Health Care track, you learn how to get to the bottom of complex connections in health care. You learn how health care is organised, which (future) care issues need to be solved and how you can contribute as a health scientist. Examples of questions that get addressed are:
What forms of formal and informal care do patients come into contact with?
- How is healthcare financed and organized in the Netherlands (and in other countries)?
- What is the quality of health care and how can it be improved?
How can entrepreneurship lead to effective innovations and how can they be implemented?
You approach these issues from research; you learn different research methods for this and study articles. In addition, practical contacts have been planned, which means that you also come into contact with patients, healthcare professionals, managers, administrators, policy makers and insurers.
Prevention and Health
Many diseases could be prevented if people change their behaviour. But how do you change behaviour? You can tell people that smoking is bad for them, but it won’t make them stop. The information leaflets are never read, and people’s surrounding often forms another obstacle. Prevention and Health focuses on three pillars:
- to prevent people from becoming ill;
- to identify the early signs of disease, thereby enabling early treatment;
- to teach people who are ill to copy with their illness so that they can live as full a life as possible.