European health and care systems face a number of challenges linked to the ageing of the population and an increase in the prevalence of chronic conditions. With budget constraints, the health and care systems face rising cost pressures for systems and problems of sustainability. There is a consensus that health systems need to undergo adaption if they are to adequately respond to future population health needs.
New digital technologies will play a role in transforming health and care systems. In particular, artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential to transform health and care facilities across their range of functions from the clinical aspects (screening and prevention, diagnosis, treatment, surgical support) to organisational and logistical aspects (such as the management and distribution of medicines and wider supplies across the facility). Given that health facilities such as hospitals consume the major proportion of resources available to health and care budgets, efficiency gains in these facilities may support sustainability of the system as a whole.
Innovative AI based systems (robotics, big data, machine learning, autonomous systems, conversational agents, etc.) have shown considerable promise so far, however their effective use in the delivery of health and care depends on their successful integration (and acceptation) within existing health and care facilities such as hospitals, primary care centres and care homes.
Therefore, piloting at scale is needed to prove the transformative impact of AI. Pilots need to be embedded in operational health and care settings and built around well specified open physical and digital platforms that are able to demonstrate operational and economic benefits sufficient to justify wider uptake by health and care policy makers.
AI in this context has the potential to deliver integrated physical and digital services that address a wide range of healthcare applications, for example in patient care, diagnosis, treatment and in hospital based laboratory and support services. Ethical, privacy and trust aspects should be addressed, as appropriate.
Devise in-facility pilot demonstrators that deliver innovative AI-based solutions in a health and care setting such as a hospital, primary care facility or care home. Pilots should enable or support clinical, diagnosis and treatment, etc. carried out with clinical outcomes comparable to human delivered procedures and with comparable results.
Proposals may address any aspect of health facility operations across their range of functions, such as diagnostics, treatments, logistical aspects, etc. Proposals must indicate how their proposed solution will perform when measured against particular health and care metrics suitable for the aspect of operations chosen. Proposal should be developed with health and care facility partners and consider wider dimensions such as how they will work within the broader aspects of impact on resources, staff training and alignment with existing practice. The deployed solutions should build AI-based systems that combine digital and physical services that support individualised and integrated care solutions in care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, primary care centres, rehabilitation centres, care homes, etc..
Proposals must clearly demonstrate, in context, the integration of autonomous smart components unpinning AI that physically affect the working environment together with those that gather and process data and must clearly show how, in a health and care context, direct and positive impact on effectiveness and efficiency are expected to be achieved.
Proposals must integrate health and care partners in the design of the pilot, the development of performance indicators, as well as to allow access to the relevant operational environment.
Proposals must demonstrate likely “at scale” benefits in efficiency or cost reduction and demonstrate the effectiveness of any novel service models in providing economic justification for scale-up investment. Proposals should also identify opportunities for the development of European standards that enable wide spread adoption and new market creation.
Privacy and cybersecurity issues, including security by design and data integrity should also be addressed, where appropriate.
Proposals must seek to align with the European Digital Innovation Hub networks and platforms funded under DT-ICT-02-2018: Robotics – Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH).
When assessing proposals, the Commission will take into account the value of having a spread of projects addressing different health and care functions (for instance, surgery, rehabilitation, logistics in hospital, etc.).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 7 and 10 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
- Emergence of European-led AI based pilots for the smart hospital of the future, enabled by open system platforms
- Demonstration of effectiveness, in use, of AI based technologies, such as smart robots, in a range of healthcare tasks
- Engagement of healthcare policy makers, investors, stakeholders and through the pilot.
- Effective basis for developing deployable applications
- Reaching a high leveraging effect on other sources of funding, in particular regional and national funding
- Contributing to trust and acceptance building in the AI technology among all stakeholders (including patients, their formal and informal caregivers, decision makers, etc.).
 Physical components are those that have a physical effect on the working environment, and digital components are those that gather, process or communicate data.
Deadline: 22 April 2020 17:00:00 Brussels time
Source: European Commission
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