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EIT Health launches new documentary focused on innovation during the pandemic

  • The EU-backed network of health innovators, EIT Health, has released a new documentary showcasing the most pressing challenges and solutions that emerged during the pandemic.
  • The film reveals the importance of EIT Health’s efforts to promote a more decentralised, accessible, and sustainable approach to healthcare during the pandemic and beyond.

COVID-19 represented the greatest public health challenge of recent times; to our healthcare systems, our economy, and our way of life. Many states were slow to enact measures to combat COVID-19 due to a crippling sense of uncertainty and disbelief surrounding the severity of the virus. Others attributed being under-prepared to a lack of historical and geographical precedence, writes EIT Health.

Amid this backdrop of uncertainty, EIT Health mobilized its network of world-class innovators and problem-solvers to confront the challenges presented by COVID-19.

As the largest, healthcare innovation network in Europe, the EIT Health community worked tirelessly to develop and pioneer transformative solutions to address the needs of healthcare practitioners, patients and citizens under the umbrella of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology which is a body of the European Union. As part of that, EIT Health led an intensive programme of activity that led to the development and launch of solutions including PPE, testing and diagnostics, AI and data platforms, and much more.

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This effort has been documented in a new film entitled  Armed with innovation: the fight to beat the pandemic . In this documentary, EIT Health takes viewers behind the scenes of a monumental collaboration between its cast of approximately 150 healthcare delivery, research, education, and business partners as well as their vast network of start-ups and entrepreneurs in their concerted effort to tackle the virus through life-changing tech solutions that will continue to define the future of healthcare beyond the pandemic .

Recognising the need for a marketplace of knowledge and resource -sharing across Europe, EIT Health connected parties with various capacities and capital to facilitate more efficient collaboration. EIT Health also deployed targeted support to struggling, promising start-ups and initiated a catalogue of rapid response projects designed to rapidly bring new products and services to market that could assist in overcoming the challenges of delivering healthcare during the pandemic.

The EIT Health Spotlight film sheds light on the remarkable work undertaken by the research and innovation community to mobilise and implement rapid, transformative solutions to the biggest issues that emerged during the pandemic.

When hospitals began to struggle to care for the influx of patients, EIT Health worked with Hospital Clinic Barcelona to champion a cutting-edge solution: Digital Control Centre for COVID-19. The expert-led virtual control centre enables clinicians to monitor patients across hospitals and even locations to see what pattern of disease they are facing and offer personalised treatment within crucial and often short windows of time.

Using data and AI, the platform armed clinicians with the ability to deal with the large influx of patients to the ICUs, the unpredictable trajectory of the disease and data-driven knowledge of how to address each stage. The solution has already saved many lives, with data published in Clinical Infectious Diseases demonstrating a reduction in mortality of 50%.[1]

Significant strides were also made by the EIT Health network in harnessing the power of AI and deploying it to transform fundamental research and development processes. Notably, AI-powered online platform, AncoraAI, addressed a challenge faced during the pandemic by researchers who struggled to attract the required volume and diversity of volunteers to participate in COVID-19 focused clinical trials.

Originally launched to support trials in other diseases, such as oncology, AncoraAI identified the need to provide a more remote, patient-friendly, and decentralised service, and as a result, designed an accessible and public friendly platform to ‘open up’ clinical research to all eligible volunteers.

The AncoraAI solution accelerated recruitment numbers with research used to then evaluate and shape medical advances into COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

EIT Health also broke ground in promoting more accessible, remote healthcare to reduce the volume of patients in hospitals. Byteflies, an EIT Health backed start-up, launched a ‘Covid Care @ Home’ tool that equipped COVID-19 patients with a smart patch that monitored their vital signs from home whilst enabling medical professionals to monitor the trajectory of a patient’s condition remotely. It produced a real-time dashboard for clinicians with a calculated ‘early warning score’ to determine the severity of disease and flag necessary medical intervention.

At every twist and turn of the pandemic, EIT Health has risen to new and unexpected challenges by pushing the needle on innovative, creative solutions. Capitalising on its network of extraordinary minds, world-class data and research and technological savvy, EIT Health is emerging from the pandemic with an arsenal of new, forward-thinking answers to some of the greatest healthcare challenges of our time.

The pandemic underscored the importance of connecting different innovators, knowledge and organisations to respond to health crises in a concerted manner. Just as it has done before the onset of COVID-19, EIT Health will continue to foster collaboration and innovation across its network to ensure that healthcare is more sustainable and accessible for all – now and in the future.

To find out more about the innovators at the forefront of the COVID-19 watch the EIT Health Spotlight film here.

[1] Garcia-Vidal, C., Moreno-García, E., Hernández-Meneses, M., Puerta-Alcalde, P., Chumbita, M., Garcia-Pouton, N., Linares, L., Rico, V., Cardozo, C., Martínez, J.A., García, F., Mensa, J., Castro, P., Nicolás, J.M., Muñoz, J., Vidal, D. and Soriano, A. (2020). Personalized therapy approach for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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