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In the Spotlight: UBE and Digital Health

“What we find interesting with digital health is the possibility of transforming medicine from being reactive to proactive, meaning we could prevent diseases.”

At the Karolinska Institute, the SSES node is represented by the Unit for Bioentrepreneurship (UBE). It is through UBE that students, researchers and alumni at one of the world’s leading medical universities are invited to take part in activities and opportunities offered by SSES. UBE represents an interdisciplinary research area and employs a student-centred educational model in their teaching.

Hanna Jansson, head of the Unit for Bioentrepreneurship at Karolinska describes UBE: “The Unit for Bioentrepreneurship develops and provides educational activities related to innovation and entrepreneurship within life science. The aim is to challenge established ways of thinking and prepare professionals in the health industries to manage the unexpected.”

SSES and UBE are currently looking to focus on the topic of digital health in the academic curriculum. Digital health is the convergence of digital technologies with health, healthcare, living and society to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and make medicines more personalized and precise.

Name: Madelen Lek
Title:  Program Director for the global master’s programme in bioentrepreneurship

Q: Why is digital health important, in society and in our universities?
A: During the last century there has been a massive development within medicine, ranging from discovery of penicillin to pacemakers and gene therapies. Most of these findings treat existing diseases. What we find interesting with digital health is the possibility of transforming medicine from being reactive to proactive, meaning we could prevent diseases. Students interested in a career within the life sciences sector must understand how digital health will affect their future careers. All stakeholders benefit from the implementation of digital health, patients might not even become patients, chronic patients can get more resources and society will be able to use the resources more effectively. There is however, still a lot of barriers to overcome before digital health can fulfil its promise.

Q: How does the topic of digital health benefit in an SSES context?
A: In order to overcome the barriers, we need to have interdisciplinary teams that know enough about the healthcare system, technology, business and regulatory questions. The context of SSES provides that, we want students to learn from each other and experts in the field, creating an understanding across educational borders. After the course, we hope that students will spread to various employers working within the life sciences sector, they will have a good understanding, not only about the challenges but also about the possibilities in digital health.