DC7: Human-Centered Networked Care in Orthopedics


In orthopedic care many disciplines are involved before, during and after the orthopedic intervention. Interventions range from surgical to non- treatment, including physiotherapy, pain medications, and a splint or brace prescription. Where care traditionally is organised to optimize professional efficiency for each discipline separately, this may hamper the overall quality, experience, value and flow of care for the patient. The purpose of this project is to develop knowledge for the design and implementation of networked care in orthopedics, and will focus on hand-wrist orthopaedics in particular. Besides diagnosing, treating acquired hand and wrist pathology is challenging. Concerning instability and complaints in the wrist there is an international debate in progress, in which two main streams are right to each other.

  • Diagnosing and treatment based on imaging and invasive diagnostics measurement.
  • Diagnosing and treatment based on psychosocial patient characteristics

In this human-centered project, the requirements from a sociotechnical system’s perspective are taken as a starting point, taking both streams into account, with the various actors (i.e. patient, caregiver, health professionals, employers) in the network able to add value for the patient at different moments.


The goals of the project will be achieved through: (1) Investigating the needs, values, facilitators and barriers of all stakeholders involved in networked orthopedic care, by using human-centered design and human factors research techniques (i.e. a sociotechnical system perspective including stakeholder mapping, context mapping and patient journey mapping). (2) Developing a theoretical framework for networked care in orthopedics and identify opportunities for digital support; and (3) Developing, prototyping and evaluating support for networked care in orthopedics.

This PhD will result in knowledge of contextual challenges and information needs for the implementation of networked care in orthopedics, an evaluated proposal for the implementation of networked care in othopedics, and guidance for designers, end-users and policy makers on the implementation of networked care in orthopedics.

Our research team

You will join the Department of Public and Occupational Health at the Amsterdam University Medical Center and will collaborate closely with the Department of Human-Centered Design of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology.

You will complete four secondments during your studies. In the first year you will start with a three month secondment at the the Reinier de Graaf HAGA Orthopedic Center in Zoetermeer (NL) to gain insight in orthopedic care and opportunities for orthopaedic networked care. Next, at the end of the second year, a three month secondment follows at University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern in Switzerland, to form a theoretical basis for the framework of networked care. In the third year, a three months secondment follows at the Department of Human-Centered Design of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology (NL) to carry out human centered design of a prototype. Finally, at the end of the third year a two months secondments takes place at the Orthopedic center again to evaluate the prototype.

AmsterdamUMC is part of an EU-funded doctoral network, “Tools4Teams” that investigates different instruments and tools to support teamwork in different parts of the healthcare system. Tools are technical as well as procedural. The network allows the various PhD candidates in a variety of European countries to meet and to learn with and from each other and the collective group of PhD supervisors. The consortium brings together the leading researchers on team processes in their various forms and applications. The network activities will support the mutual exchange of candidates and supervisors in unique ways, such as spring and winter schools and network wide meetings with academic and non-academic partners.

Your experience

You should have:

  • an undergraduate degree in design, human factors, psychology or a related discipline;
  • hold, or nearing completion of, a Masters degree in industrial design, psychology, or a related discipline;
  • evidence of experience in qualitative research methods;
  • prior paid or voluntary work experience;
  • evidence of excellent communication and organisational skills; and
  • prior experience in conducting implementation research in health care would also be an advantage.
  • good level of English and Dutch (written and oral)
  • applicants must meet the MSCA Eligibility Criteria, see the Tools4Teams Recruitment process for more information.

Our offer

This PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) of the European Union’s “Horizon Europe 2022” research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101072843. You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 4 years at the Amsterdam UMC in the Netherlands. The MSCA programme offers competitive and attractive working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for doctoral candidates. Gross salary will consist of a Living Allowance (= €40.800/year, correction factor to be applied for The Netherlands: 1.09) and a monthly Mobility Allowance of €600. An additional monthly allowance of €660 is applicable depending on family situation. An additional clinical science teaching program available at the Orthopedic Residency Program.  Please be aware that these amounts are subject to taxes, the exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment. The research project should result in a PhD thesis.

Application process

You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position, you can contact mc.debruyne@amsterdamumc.nl. For more information see the recruitment process (link to our website will come).

 Amsterdam UMC

The Amsterdam UMC is the largest hospital and foremost medical research institution in the Netherlands with over 13,000 employees, combining what were previously the Academic Medical Center and Vrije Universiteit Medical Center. The location of Amsterdam UMC at De Boelelaan is part of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Some 2500 staff members are fully or partially employed in medical research. Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute is one of the 8 research institutes of Amsterdam UMC that conducts world-class research with about 1700 researchers in 9 research programs, including Digital Health and Quality of Care (see Amsterdam Public Health (amsterdamumc.org). Amsterdam UMC houses high quality core facilities including an eHealth Living and Learning Lab.