Pre-spring update: 2nd wave of pilots and events

The second wave of pilots is currently underway. The Servicio Madrileño de Salud (SERMAS) has recruited 146 patients so far, and they have organized additional inclusion sessions for the following weeks. Participants are using Fitbit, as well as sleep and binary sensors. In another part of the city, the Asociación Parkinson Madrid (APM) continues to test the depth cameras in their centre’s rehabilitation areas.

Meanwhile at the University of Rome – Tor Vergata (UNITOV), the research team is finalising the recruitment process. The beginning of the second wave of pilots is set to begin in Rome towards the end of February – beginning of March. The installation phase continues, especially the Kinect Azure (a type of depth camera), which will be used in the hospital.

Finally in Ljubljana, researchers at Spominčica (SPO) are applying what they learned during their first wave of piloting. They are now testing the system together with people with mild dementia and their caregivers. Users are growing familiar with the TeNDER tools and services, and they are providing feedback to help make the system fit people’s needs.

In other news, TeNDER is co-organising an event this Spring. The “QUality of LifE Support SysTem for People sufferIng from COgNitive impairments or intellectual disabilities” (QUESTION) workshop will take place during the PETRA Conference 2022 (from 29 June to 1 July). We have officially extended the deadline to submit papers to 21 March 2022. If you have any questions regarding the submission procedure, you can contact the organizers: Nicholas Vretos, vretos@iti.gr; Vassilis Solachidis, vsol@iti.gr: Nikos Grammalidis, ngramm@iti.gr; and/or Federico Álvarez, fag@gatv.ssr.upm.es.

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The TeNDER home tracking system

One of the main objectives of the TeNDER project is to improve the Quality of Life of patients. This means, among other things, to increase safety perceptions, not only in patients but in family members and caregivers.

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Digital health and social impact

Digital technologies are essential components of sustainable health systems and universal health coverage. To realise their potential, digital health initiatives must centre around the wider health needs of the population and be integrated into the digital health ecosystem.

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TeNDER is co-organising a workshop

TeNDER is co-organising a workshop titled “QUality of LifE Support SysTem for People sufferIng from COgNitive impairments or intellectual disabilities,” which is set to take place during the PETRA Conference 2022 (from 29 June to 1 July).

The conference takes its name from PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments. It is an annual event that gathers researchers from different disciplines working on computational and engineering approaches to improving the quality of life of people in diverse settings (work, home, school, etc.).

Our workshop will focus on novel technologies that aim to enhance the quality of daily living. We welcome submissions from researchers and project partners from different scientific domains working on serious games and gamification for cognitive assessment, sensor networks for pervasive health care, assistive technologies, etc. (see full list below).

In addition to facilitating discussions and workshop activities, we will present our current findings alongside EU co-funded project and fellow host, QualiSID. If you wish to participate, please submit your conference paper by 10 March 2022 (the submit link is on the left column).

Paper topics include, but are not limited to:

Artificial Intelligence and Health

The mention of artificial intelligence (AI) often conjures the figures of industry consultants and tech moguls overhyping it, dystopic images of superintelligences superseding ours, or the very real headlines of issues arising during the early adoption of certain systems, e.g., face recognition.

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Towards integrated care: A policy view

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, life expectancy had been steadily increasing across Europe in recent decades. This was due to a variety of factors, including reductions in childhood mortality, rising living standards, advances in medicine, and improvements in healthcare delivery.

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Nicholas Vretos from CERTH participates in PlatformUptake.eu webinar

On 16 November 2021, Nicholas Vretos presented TeNDER during a webinar organised by PlatformUptake.eu on digital solutions for active and healthy ageing.

The webinar gathered representatives of different stakeholder groups: user advocates, authorities (public health projects) and facilitators, open platform providers, Active and Assistive Living (AAL)/Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) solution providers, and partners in EU projects working on open platforms and AAL/AHA solutions.

Frederic Lievens and Alexander Nikolov from PlatformUptake.eu introduced and moderated the webinar and discussions, which kicked off with a conversation on identifying needs and requirements, specifically in the context of AHA. This first conversation integrated the perspectives of users, as well as authorities (a representative from the municipality of Aarhus) and facilitators (an innovation lab in The Netherlands).

This was followed by presentations that showcased the state-of-art in the AAL/AHA solutions, which then led to current developments in Europe and Japan (in collaboration with European researchers), funded by the European Union’s Framework for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020). During this session, Dr. Vretos presented TeNDER’s integrated care system, focusing on the technical innovations and on the strategic steps the project is taking to overcome adoption barriers. Some of these steps include: continuous user co-creation, consistent legal and ethical monitoring and assessment, and person-to-person support for elderly users with low digital literacy.

This exchange of ideas and best practices, as well as the potential networking opportunities, were facilitated by PlatformUptake.eu in the framework of inter-project collaboration.

Ubiwhere shares how TeNDER is improving people’s quality of life in the ‘European Week of Healthy and Active Ageing 2021’

Within the European Week of Healthy and Active Ageing framework, PlatformUptake.eu organised a workshop on 18 October titled “Large-scale uptake of open platforms in the AAL/AHA domain.”

Javier Ganzarain and Frederic Lievens from PlatformUptake.eu hosted a panel discussion on assistive technologies’ role in the Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) domain. The workshop facilitated a discussion on the benefits of platforms that support Active Assisted Living (AAL), such as TeNDER, and the existing barriers to adoption.

Among the potential benefits of assistive technologies, helping people with chronic diseases live more independently and longer at home as they age remains vital. Platforms such as TeNDER can support this by creating an environment where patients feel safe, knowing that if their conditions deteriorate, their caregivers and health and social care providers will be alerted.

Ricardo Vitorino from Ubiwhere not only re-visited the benefits of assistive technology, but he also focused on one of the core enablers of these systems: interoperability – or the communication between different devices, platforms, and networks.

By imagining a networked environment as a central nervous system, we can visualise the central role of communication between different systems. A device must be able to speak with the various pieces of software through the platform to make gathered data intelligible and valuable. For example, in the case of TeNDER, the web application, which processes and charts information for health professionals and other users, must be able to communicate with the devices that gather the data the charts are based on about their sleep and daily activities.

Because of the sensitive medical data specific systems gather and feed, a robust policy framework must be in place to protect people’s privacy and prevent abuse. In TeNDER, our technical partners, such as Ubiwhere, work to ease the communication between the devices, digital services, and networks within the project’s integrated care system. In the meantime, end-user partners and legal scholars work to ensure that all this happens within a solid legal and ethical framework backed by EU and national laws and regulations.

Technology in Stroke Recovery

Throughout the world, highly advanced wearables and sensor devices are being used on a daily basis. Advancements in the field of science and technology give rise to more effective tools for disease prevention and recovery.

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PlatformUptake.eu meets Parkinson Madrid Association

The Parkinson Madrid Association (APM) is a non-profit organisation whose main mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by Parkinson’s disease and their families. It was founded in 1994 and declared a Public Utility Entity by the Ministry of the Interior in 2001. The Madrid Parkinson’s Association currently has 2000 members, 130 volunteers and 58 workers.

In an interview with Ms Jennifer Jiménez Ramos, who is a Project Manager at APM and a TeNDER partner, PlatformUptake.eu discussed the role of digital technologies and open platforms for the improvement of quality of life of older people affected by Parkinson’s disease.

On the question of how important the technological support for older people and carers from the organisation’s perspective is, the interviewee stated that the current global health situation has brought to the forefront the usefulness of new technologies regarding the provision of care and paying attention to the needs of older people. Ms Ramos continued by explaining that a pandemic does not need to be present for this to happen. The older people often have difficulties in getting around, due to their own health problems, to the absence of people who can accompany them, or to the place where they live. For this reason, new technologies provide their carers and family members with a great opportunity to get closer to them and provide them with quality services and security in their daily lives.

Next, Ms Ramos was asked if APM has used or developed open platforms or AAL/AHA solutions to support older people, family carers, and care professionals. And if so, she was asked to provide some examples. According to the interviewee the Parkinson Madrid Association has already participated in several projects aimed at creating integrated care systems with the monitoring of patients’ symptoms and activity and creating a communication network between the different actors involved. Thus, the initiatives sought to promote the interrelation between patients, carers, and professionals and increase patients’ autonomy and quality of life. Moreover, as a result of the projects caregivers can feel calmer and relieved of the guilt that often derived from leaving their loved ones alone. Professionals also benefit from the developed systems by having objective, real-time data on their patients’ symptomatology and activity.

Finally, the interviewee was asked to highlight some important aspects of the APMs work. Ms Ramos explained that during the COVID-19 crisis, the association has developed a new project to provide streaming rehabilitation for everyone. The sessions are open through the association’s website using a live Youtube channel. In addition, APM has launched its own application for remote therapies, enabling older people to receive their treatment both individually and in groups.

According to Ms Ramos the specialisation of the professionals at the Association make it an ideal place for students from different disciplines to train, not only in their specific area of studies but also within the provided service model. Additional courses, workshops, and conferences are held by ATM for caregivers and those who are affected by Parkinson’s disease. Every year the organisation carries out 2 major general awareness events, International Parkinson’s Day, and its own campaign in Madrid – “Music for Parkinson’s.”

To conclude the interview Ms Ramos explained that APM promotes innovation in all the therapy disciplines. The organisation offers and frequently expands its services in the search for the latest treatment trends. For example, it has added activities such as Pilates or Taichi to its catalogue of services. It has also acquired virtual reality equipment to include in its sessions.