The eHealth Project RELIEF Selects Two Apps for the Self-Management of Chronic Pain
- Life Sciences and Pharma
- Press Release
JAGGAER hosts the final conference of the RELIEF Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) Project for the Self-Management of Chronic Pain
Research Triangle, NC, and Madrid, Spain March 25, 2021 – JAGGAER hosted the final conference of the RELIEF project as a virtual event on March 17, in which two companies presented solutions for the self-management of pain at the conclusion of the third (field trials) phase of this European pre-commercial procurement (PCP) project to find eHealth solutions for the self-management of chronic pain. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Program.
Antonis Billis, R&D Manager at Gnomon Informatics of Thessaloniki, Greece, presented the Epione mobile app, and Carlos Chiatti, Chairman of Tech4Care srl, of Ancona, Italy, presented the VR-Relief mobile app. The two applications now go forward to commercialization.
The field tests found little difference in the performance of the Epione and VR-Relief apps. The functionalities most highly rated by patients were the ability to monitor activities and sleeping patterns, and self-management maintenance techniques and training recommendations. Physicians valued the information that the app provided about patients before a first visit.
JAGGAER has acted as the coordinator of the project, with the different phases of the process managed through JAGGAER’s eTendering platform. The project consortium also included GIP Resah for Groupement d’Intérêt Public, Servicio Andaluz de Salud and Uppsala Lans Landsting, acting as the buyer group for the RELIEF PCP, and the Open University of Catalonia.
The conference was introduced by Oresitis Kalliantzidis of the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect). Project Manager Ana Muñiz Alonso presented an overview of the PCP project execution and results on behalf of JAGGAER.
Muñiz explained the rationale behind the PCP approach: “A pre-commercial procurement project makes sense when a research and development effort is required to satisfy public procurers’ needs, because there is no solution currently available on the market and, based on preliminary investigation by the user organizations, it is unlikely that such a solution will be available in the foreseeable future.”
Speaking on behalf of the RELIEF buyer group, Louis Potel, José Carlos Prieto Baena and Rolf Karlsten then presented results and conclusions of the field testing at sites in France, Spain and Sweden. These trials were conducted over three steps: local adaptation of the apps, local pilot tests and clinical studies. The studies faced a number of challenges, some related to Covid-19, but also due to the fact that younger, more ICT-savvy patients had limited time to attend visits to the field test hospitals. Nevertheless, the buyer group reported that “patient engagement was impressive”.
Best practices in PCP
At the end of the event the speakers, including Knut Mårtensson, CEO miThings AB and Fotis Gonidis, IT Project Manager, Gnomon Informatics, engaged in a round table discussion on the lessons learnt from the RELIEF PCP and best practices to carry forward. They stressed the differences between a PCP and a more conventional tender process, which requires more effort up front in the open market consultation, “Phase 0” of the project, when needs are defined. Louis Potel recommended working more intensely with fewer suppliers in Phase 1 (feasibility) and Phase 2 (prototype development), as the requirement to provide all information to all suppliers on a fair and equal basis is extremely demanding.
There was also consensus in the view that field testing and clinical studies should only be conducted when the prototypes have been fully tested and any technical issues resolved. The third phase of future PCPs should instead be used for more intense co-creation of the solutions and collaboration between buyers and contractors prior to clinical studies.
Knut Mårtensson looked forward to getting more in-depth evaluations from patients and physicians, which will come about through various channels such as the chronic pain management units of hospitals and patient associations in the commercialization phase, which can now commence.
More information about the Relief project is available here.
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