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In the Netherlands, over 1 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes (T2D), and these numbers are still growing. Currently, diabetes care provided is reactive, a patient gets professional help when there are problems; labour-intensive, it is mainly organized face to face; and often relies on a 'one size fits all' approach whilst the origin, maintaining factors and the course of T2D are different for each patient. At the same time, people living with T2D visit their health care professionals (HCPs) on regular interval and have the 24/7 task to keep their blood glucose values within a healthy range. Despite all their effort, many people with T2D do have frequent "out of range"-episodes, which significantly impacts their well-being and increases the risks of acute and long-term complications.
In the meantime, self-management is becoming increasingly important in the care for people with chronic conditions (including T2D). This is not only vital to reduce the (financial) burden on healthcare, but also to personalize care and improve the quality of life of T2D patients. Several technologies exist to help T2D patients with this self-management. The FreeStyle Libre continuously monitors patients' glucose levels. The Diameter smartphone app enables patients to self-monitor their blood glucose levels, physical activity and food intake. The eSupporter is a digital coach that uses motivational messages and problem solving to support patients.
However, these technologies are not currently fully integrated in a single intervention yet, and care pathways have not been optimized to take advantage of the possibilities (e.g. continuous monitoring, improved self-management, offering more targeted care to those who really need it) these technologies offer.
In the current project we strive to make use of what we have learned from existing technologies. Based on the lessons learned, we want to create a personalized blended care platform with fitting care pathways to support patients with T2D and their caregivers in managing their illness. This is done via a participatory development process in which all stakeholders are involved. The Twente region offers an outstanding innovative environment for such ambitious plans. In this project, you (at the University of Twente) will closely work together with a research team consisting of experts from ZGT and MST hospitals, Ancora Health (a digital health expert who has their own lifestyle intervention platform available), and with patient representatives.
As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be the glue that holds the project together and ensures its success. To make that possible, you will set-up, implement and analyse all kinds of research methodologies, but also continuously connect with the involved stakeholders. This means that this job will never be dull. One day you might be setting-up and guide focus groups meetings, while the next day you are fully immersed in data-analysis, or talking to a patient panel about the project. You will at least (1) through co-creation identify specifications for the personalized blended care platform, (2) evaluate and develop care pathways that fit the platform, (3) support Ancora Health while they develop the platform, (4) perform a pilot feasibility study in two local hospitals in close collaboration with research nurses, and (5) contribute to refinement of the platform based on the results of the feasibility study. Throughout the project, regularly update the research team and other stakeholders on your progress. Continuously collaborating closely with the public and academic society are considered an important part of your work. In addition, you will keep track of administrative tasks that are an inherent part of any project and will, for example, contribute to writing progress reports.
University of Twente (UT)
- You have a PhD in the field of eHealth, diabetes care, health sciences or adjacent fields.
- You have working experience in health(care) and/or participatory intervention development processes, preferably related to diabetes and/or technology.
- You have experience in performing both qualitative and quantitative research.
- You have shown ability and passion to work in a multidisciplinary team and translate complicated research into understandable communication towards patients.
- You have a keen curiosity about innovating healthcare through the use of technology.
- You have demonstrated ability to publish in relevant and high-quality scientific journals.
- You have excellent communication skills, in both English and Dutch.
- You have a team-work mentality.
Conditions of employment
- You will be appointed for a period of maximum 2,5 years full-time within a very stimulating scientific environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues.
- A multidisciplinary team of experts from the region who have a passion for the project and are willing to offer support.
- Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
- Gross salary between € 3.557,- and €4.670,- per month depending on experience and qualifications;
- Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme;
- Free access to sports facilities on campus
- A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
- Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development.
- We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other university staff.
- We are also a family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid) and career support for partners.