HealthCAT - Health Care Assisting Technology, a german-danish partner project

The Health-CAT-project will develope a prototype of a robot, which takes on specific tasks in health care departments.

An increasingly larger population of elderly demands new care solutions

The demographic changes in both Germany and Denmark are leading to an increasingly larger group of elderly in need of care.

This creates challenges in relation to upholding the standard of care for the elderly and those citizens in need of special treatment and care. Robots can be a great supplement and useful tool to the healthcare professionals, in that the robots can take care of some of the more time-consuming tasks and thus take some pressure off the shoulders of the caretakers.

Transportation robots for instance, are already capable of handling a wide range of transportation tasks, such as delivering food, linen and medicine. In a not too distant future, robots will be able to carry out measurements of specific medical parameters such as pulse, blood pressure or oxygen saturation.

Robotics thus hold a lot of potential for solving some of the issues an increasingly ageing demographic presents.

However, implementing robotic solutions in eldercare also hold several challenges:

Scientific challenges: There are still technical issues in the interplay between robots and humans.

Challenges of entering a new market: Compared to the industrial development of robotics, in which it is possible to predict market changes, the advancement of robotics, when it comes to the healthcare sector, is still very much uncharted territory.

Public interest: Industrial robots are fully accepted by the general public. It is assumed that robots meant for the healthcare sector will receive much greater attention and scrutiny from the public. This is because there might be a greater interest in knowing whether the implementation of robots will cost people their jobs and if there are any safety concerns when introducing robots as part of the general eldercare.

To accommodate these challenges, Health-CAT seeks to

  • establish an interregional network for all relevant partners
  • publicize the issues facing the healthcare sector, as a result of the demographic changes
  • involve end-users in the development phase
  • take charge on the necessity of robotic solutions and evaluate the commercial potential
  • develop a prototype of a robotic solution
  • develop a strategy for the commercialization of said prototype.

User involvement

The Hospital of Southern Jutland and two German nursing homes will, as part of the partnership agreement, implement the Health-CAT developed robot, consolidate its relevance and teach the caregivers, citizens and patients about the robots efficiency and benefits.

The Health Innovation of Southern Denmark’s part in Health-CAT

Hospital of Southern Jutland and the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark represents the Region of Southern Denmark in the Health-CAT project.

Several work guidelines have been created in order to distribute tasks between partners. Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark is responsible for identifying potentials and existing needs for robotics at hospitals and nursing homes in Denmark and Germany.

The needs assessment will be the foundation for choosing and developing relevant solutions that can go to market and when testing the developed technology, the needs assessment will function as a framework for evaluating their potential.

The needs assessment will among other things:

  • identify, chart, categorize and prioritize needs at hospitals and nursing homes and whether there exists any potential for the implementation of robotics
  • identify challenges and barriers when developing and implementing robotics at hospitals and nursing homes
  • identify and compare already existing robot technology available on the market

Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark has participated as a project partner in several European innovation, healthcare and assisted living technology projects. Among those are: Renewing Health, DREAMING, SILVER, Connected for Health, CASA and DEMANTEC.

In the SILVER project, the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark was in charge of collecting data, create guidelines/recommendations and consolidate the implementation of those in the PCP-process (Pre Commercial Procurement). The European Commission considered the guidelines to be clear, specific, practical and utmost valuable.

Objective

The project’s objective was to create a mobile robot, which would be able to support one or more functions at a hospital or nursing home. This would result in a lesser workload on caregivers and undoubtedly improve the overall quality of care.

Intermediate objective:

  1. Identify the needs in the healthcare sector
  2. Produce a profitable robot prototype
  3. Improve public opinion on robots in the healthcare system and create a partner network.

Sub-results the project must achieve:

  1. Identification of needs
  2. Production of a preliminary prototype
  3. A collection of various initiatives to support the inclusion of both users and field experts
  4. Implementation of a mobile living lab designed for the evaluation.

Facts

Project owner: The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark.

Project period: 01.02.2017 – 31.01.2020.

Funding: Interreg Deutschland-Danmark with funds from the European Regional Development Fund and The Southern Denmark Growth Forum.

Budget: The total project budget is 21 million DKK, with the Region of Southern Denmark making up for 4,1 million DKK of that sum. Interreg contributes 60 % of the total budget. The project is also funded by The Southern Denmark Growth Forum.

German partners

Danish partners






Contact
SDSI
Specialkonsulent, projektleder
Louise Halgaard Gotfredsen
+45 2179 1404
lhg@rsyd.dk