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The new connection between medicine and computer science

(11 September 2012) For the first time in the winter semester 2012/13, the University of Siegen is offering the course Computer Science with a specialized focus on Medical Computer Science.

With this new specialism on the bachelor and master programmes in Computer Science, the university intends to set a course for the future and give students the opportunity to work, do research and shape the future at the interface between medicine and computer science. This unique interlinking of university education in computer science with prestigious medical practitioners from the region’s health institutions results in a practice-oriented and varied course. The concept of close interdisciplinary cooperation between the university and medical practice provides the students with the opportunity of gaining profound insight into the world of medicine even while they are still studying, thanks to practical clinical training integrated into the lectures, as well as on-site practicals. This leads to an understanding of the procedures used in hospitals and trains students to have a demand-oriented view of their course contents. In this way, they receive ideal preparation for their future working environment.

The course is supplemented by interdisciplinary project groups and bachelor and master theses that are organized in cooperation between the university and the hospitals. Today’s health care is inconceivable without medical information technology. Whether it is to support clinical institutions and doctors’ surgeries in their daily management tasks, in data administration and analysis or in drawing up complex diagnoses and monitoring the success of treatment, no-one is willing or able to do without the potentials of information technology anymore. With the steady increase in the significance of information technology in modern medicine, it can be predicted that the future will see a growing need for trained professionals with the necessary expertise to carry out demanding work at the interface between medicine and information technology. The University of Siegen itself looks back on many years of research work in various areas of medical computer science. Examples of this are the current research activities on questions related to computer-assisted surgery, medical imaging and the development of knowledge-based systems for medical applications.

Within the context of the six-semester bachelor course, the principles of computer science, mathematics, medicine and medical technology are initially taught. Finally, in the consecutive master course, the students can specialize by choosing modules depending on the area of their interest, such as in the fields of medical imaging or medical information systems. During the master’s degree, their medical knowledge is supplemented by a comprehensive insight into the “high-tech disciplines” of medicine. In structuring this new degree course, it was particularly important to the coordinator of this specialism, Prof. Dr. Rainer Brück, that it should also be possible for graduates and students of pure Computer Science who are interested in this field of study to join the course. The course is supervised by mentors who ensure that the studies go smoothly by providing ongoing advice and individual study plans. It is possible to start the course in either the winter or summer semester. Thanks to the new structure of the Computer Science courses at the University of Siegen, it is possible to incorporate a semester abroad without any difficulty. You can find further information at www.medinf.uni-siegen.de.