Student story Health and Digital Transformation

Sofie Van Geffen: The synergy between digital innovation and empathetic care

We discover new things about staff and students every day here at our faculty. That Lieve wants health tips to be evidence-based. That Alisa moved from Moscow to Maastricht to become a first-year Regenerative Medicine and Technology student. And that Sofie is finishing up her master’s in Health and Digital Transformation with the belief that healthcare innovation and empathetic care have synergy.

The broad spectrum of healthcare innovation

Sofie started as a Health Sciences bachelor student with an interest in innovating care in new and creative ways. “One simple but great example is the call-me-disc created by the MUMC+ Health Innovation Lab: patients who wanted to go out for a walk could leave behind parking disc with their phone number at their bed, so healthcare staff knew they were out and for how long and people could still have their movement.”

The data niche

Sofie knew she wanted to make an impact on healthcare through innovation. However, she didn’t know what direction or master’s programme to follow. Enter the new master’s in Health and Digital Transformation. “I immediately became enthusiastic about the new programme. Applying data science to improve patient care? Sign me up!” 

A two-way street

Sofie is finishing up her master’s with a thesis on the perspective of healthcare workers on data-driven care. “This could sum up the curriculum of the master’s: I learned all about data science in itself, and now I’m learning about the needs of the healthcare workers so I can explain the benefits of data science to them and translate their needs back to data-analysts. A two-way street.”

“Digital innovation can and should free up time for high quality, personal care.”

We are not asking ChatGPT

There is still resistance on the healthcare floor against data-driven care and AI models, which students also learn about. “The programme is a full package; we know how to reply to any resistance staff could have because they don’t fully understand data-driven innovation or immediately compare AI models to ChatGPT. Which isn’t the case at all.” 


The synergy between innovation and empathetic care

Although there is some resilience, possibilities for digital innovation are endless. Whatever Sofie will work on in the future, her outcome is already fixed: “Innovation can and should free up time for high quality, personal care.”

Also read