Annette Cleveland Nielsen

eHealth Researcher
Annette is a doctor in veterinary medicine with a PhD in epidemiology, and used to work as an expert to the EU commission, the Nordic Council, and the Danish Ministry of Health. Today she works at Eriksholm, in the context of hearing aid rehabilitation in adults, and investigating barriers and facilitators to successful implementation of eHealth in this area.

What do you do at Eriksholm?

“I am an eHealth researcher at Eriksholm, in relation to Audiology. For example in the context of hearing aid rehabilitation in adults, and investigating barriers and facilitators to successful implementation of eHealth in this area.

How long have you worked here for?

“At the time of this interview, June 1st 2016, I have been here for exactly one year. I consider myself a bit of an oddball here at Eriksholm, and maybe a very good symbol of the Eriksholm identity: Our workforce is very open-minded, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary. Being a doctor of veterinary medicine with a PhD in epidemiology, who somehow ended up working in hearing research, I consider myself a very clear example of that identity. 
I have previously worked with applied epidemiology in public health, developing and implementing eHealth solutions on a national scale. At the same time, I was working as an expert to the EU Commission, the Nordic Council, and the Danish Ministry of Health, on antibiotic resistance in a One Health perspective, i.e. the link between animal antibiotic resistance and human consequences.

Through my work in the human health sector, I have found more and more interest in this sector, and in using my skills in epidemiology and evidence-based eHealth solutions to make a difference in the human health sector. When I saw a job opening for an eHealth researcher at Eriksholm Research Centre, it was the perfect opportunity for me; so I applied for it, and within a few weeks, I had my very first day.”

Tell us about some of the projects and studies you have participated in.

“I have been involved in a number of projects. For instance, a systematic review of eHealth activities related to hearing aids, a study we did in collaboration with two researchers abroad. It is currently under review, and has already been presented in the US, UK, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.

Another project was on eHealth literacy in people with hearing impairment, a project I did with two bachelor students, Simone & Maja. In that particular project we used the largest sample of test subjects ever used at Eriksholm. We sent out an online questionnaire to our test subjects, and got an impressive response rate of 89%.

The final project I want to plug is the ‘Remote Instrument Access Project’, a project I worked on with our colleagues at the Oticon headquarters in Denmark. The intentions of that specific project is to empower clients and clinicians through eHealth solutions transmitting information and communication between the client and the clinic.”

What do you like the most about working at Eriksholm Research Centre?

“The work environment is certainly a big plus at Eriksholm. Everyone is interested in cooperating and sharing their accomplishments in between each other, and that suits my personal philosophy well. I have a motto, that ‘two plus two equals five’ when it comes to research, and even more so, interdisciplinary research. When there is a common goal and everyone pitches in, and goes above and beyond, the results are often clearer, larger and better. That philosophy is put into practice here at Eriksholm, and it works.

Another incentive to work here is the opportunity to be creative, innovative, and have long- and far-reaching strategic research goals.”

What are the three most important values in your life?

1. “Optimism – Seeing things positively, even when they seem bad. There is often value to be found, or lessons to be learned from the bad things in life. Learn from it and see new opportunities instead.
2. Responsibility – Taking responsibility for both your own life, and also towards the lives of others. Help out if you are able to.
3. Confidence – It is important to be confident, not only in yourself, but also in others around you. I.e. trust that others want to do their best and are capable.”

What do you hope will happen in future science? 

“Our current healthcare models are primarily targeted towards dealing with illness, as opposed to promoting a healthy lifestyle, and thus, there is little incentive to implement preventative care strategies, or involve clients in maintaining and monitoring their own health. There is also little incentive to offer insight through data to both the Health Care Professionals and the patients, or do interventional audiology, or holistic data-driven healthcare and prevention. My hope is that somewhere down the line that will change. Precise predictive analysis for evidence-based decision support is crucial in eHealth, so my hope is that the chewed and visualized data can offer disruptively good patient-centered, connected healthcare.”

What is the most exciting scientific breakthrough in your life time?

“The PC, and with it, the internet. Connectivity is the basis for all our work in eHealth. The internet has led to personalized data for a wealth of opportunities, in turn leading us down the path towards Information and Communication Technology systems, and – later – eHealth opportunities. My kids, aged 12 and 18, could not possibly fathom a world without the internet, and that in itself explains the magnitude of the invention.” 

What do you do in your spare time?

“I have a number of interests, when I can find the time to pursue them. Most notable I would suppose is biking, Pilates, and spinning, three hobbies I hold very dearly. On top of that, I hope I will soon have a chance to go sea-kayaking as well. I have done sailing and rowing. I love being on the open sea.”

Annette truly loves the outdoors. Her first response when invited to do this interview, was “can we do it outdoors?” So, naturally, we did.

You can learn much more about Annette on her LinkedIn profile, or look at a selection of her publications here.