Digital Twins in Healthcare

Offered by

Department of Biomedical Engineering



Primarily interesting for

Students interested in applying their knowledge to solve a health care related challenge.


Required courses: USE Basic
Recommended courses: Data Analytics

Contact person

Prof. dr. Jan de Boer,
Dr. Jorge Uquillas Paredes,

Content and composition

Course code  Course name Level classification
8LEU01 Digital Twins in Healthcare 1: Conceiving phase 1
8LSU02 Digital Twins in Healthcare 2: Designing phase 2
8LAU03 Digital Twins in Healthcare 3: Implementing & operation phase 3

Course description

The learning line Digital Twins in Healthcare (DTiH) introduces the concept of digital twin and how they can be used in the healthcare system. Digital twins in healthcare are digital representations of a clinical problem, based on clinical data gathered from a real patient using computational models. DTiH is a new, vibrant and pro-active USE learning line in which you will talk to real patients and doctors, engage in a MedTech hackathon, get feedback from entrepreneurs, and produce your own digital twin model of a real clinical problem. The content highlights digital twin as a robust platform to transfer technical and humanistic skills. The three challenge-based courses will each focus on one of the three phases: conceiving, designing and implementing & operation). Throughout the learning line you will receive peer-feedback and expert coaching on team-building and personal growth.

Learning Goals of the learning line:

  1. Design a digital twin solution for a medical problem by applying medical and technological knowledge.
  2. Integrate patient data into computational models to generate a digital twin as a minimal viable product for a specific medical problem.
  3. Integrate stakeholder requirements into a digital twin model and validate it in a medical setting.
  4. Achieve personal and team development growth to become a better engineer.
  5. Acquire effective communication skills in order to engage DTiH stakeholders.

Summary of this USE learning line

What is the Learning Line (LL) about?
In the USE LL Digital Twins for Healthcare, you will work on real clinical problems as an interdisciplinarity team. You talk to doctors, interview patients, collaborate with medical students and pitch your plan for entrepreneurs.

The framework of this learning line is the Digital Twin, a digital representation of a human being that can be used by doctors in the future to make medical decisions. During the learning line you will translate part of clinical reality into a Digital Twin. Click here for if you want to see an example of a Digital Twin in Health.

Why is it special?
This USE learning line brings what technical innovation needs: tightly organized teams of professionals who contribute their knowledge to find solutions to essential problems. We believe that you learn the fastest by making mistakes and learning from them. In addition, you can only do this project as a team. “Agile” and “interdisciplinary” are key words. Students from all departments are invited to join!

What do I learn?
The answer to the question: What is my role as a biomedical technologist / industrial designer / computer scientist in technical innovation and what is the impact of what I do? You will study one medical problem, gain knowledge about the computational models behind it, but you also analyze the stakeholders: patients, doctors, insurance agents, companies, government. And above all, you get to know yourself, your role in a team and how to set up a well-organized team.

How is it organized?
During the three blocks you will be part of a team of 5 students working on a clinical challenge. Examples of challenges are:

  1. Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  2. Diabetes and Metabolism
  3. Atrial and ventricular fibrillation
  4. Interactions between medical devices and human tissues
  5. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  6. Hernia prevention, implants and fibrosis

Each challenge has a USE case team: a challenge owner (a TU/e teacher) who will involve clinical and company liaisons from her / his network in the course and who is supported by tutors. During each quartile you will do an iteration of the Team Performance model under the guidance of a tutor and with input from the USE case team. We will highlight specific aspects of it in each block. Every quartile your technical solution gets better and your team more effective.

What are we going to do?
You will participate in all kinds of activities to achieve the learning goals. We use outdoor team building activities, a med-tech hackathon event, pitching of your minimal viable product (MVP), and debating. We use Challenge Based Modules to help you find the information you need. Our starting point is action-based learning, or as Maria Montessori said: “Teach me how to do it myself

8LEU01 Digital Twins in Healthcare 1: Conceiving phase
In the first course of DTiH, you will learn about the pathophysiology of a disease and how to effectively frame a research question and hypothesis. It is our educational methodology to introduce stakeholder requirements early in the design and creation of an in-silico solution to the health problem. You will be required to deliver a minimal viable product (MVP) which will represent the digital twin solution. Finally, the MVP will be pitched to an expert panel.

8LSU02 Digital Twins in Healthcare 2: Designing phase
In this second course, you will dive deep into the technical aspects of the digital twin, i.e. build your own databases of patient data, learn about wearables to make (or collect) data and go into data ware housing. You will also dig deeper in the ethical aspects around digital twins: Which role do digital twins play in decision making and what is the take of patients on the fact that an algorithm is using their data? From a team perspective, the team members will take on specialized roles based on their own skills and interest. Leadership skills and meritocracy will be implemented in the streamlining of the team. Together the team will shape the minimal viable product (MVP) towards a marketable product.

8LAU03 Digital Twins in Healthcare 3: Implementing and operation phase
In the third course, you will be challenged to apply your digital twin in a controlled clinical case with relevant patient and disease information, and evaluate its performance form the technical, societal, and ethical perspectives. With the results of this evaluation you will develop a business plan based on the digital twin solution for the creation of a start-up company. Together with your team you will pitch the business plan to academic, industrial, and societal stakeholders.