THALEA


THALEA – an innovative telemedicine system, a success story!

Telemedicine system to meet the demands of

Hospitals concerning early warning

Assisted by innovative ICT for

Life Saving co-morbid patients in

Europe

As part of patients personalized care program

Tele-Intensive Care saves lives!

“THALEA will enable ICUs to detect complications quicker, which in turn will result in a better quality of life for intensive care patients and – most importantly – more lives being saved.” says Prof. Gernot Marx


THALEA’s primary goal was:

  • To create a technologically advanced cockpit
  • To remotely support and advise various intensive care units
  • To purchase highly innovative THALEA II solutions

-> successfully completed


This led to:

  • Purchase of three THALEA solutions
  • Implementation of the solutions at two European University Hospitals
  • Installation of a second-security layer for intensive care units
  • Another effective mean to fight live-threatening diseases, like COVID-19

-> and more lives saved!


Achievements:

First project in Germany, which received funding for both procuring methods (PCP and PPI) and successfully purchased the developed innovations.

 

Vision of THALEA -  Create an effective mean to improve intensive care

Mission of THALEA -  Purchase, implement and use THALEA solutions

Duty of THALEA - Deliver best possible care by constantly evaluating

Promise of THALEA - Overcoming all barriers, even if it is a pandemic like COVID-19

Evolution of THALEA - Creation of European cooperation's

THALEA I consortium:

  • Uniklinik RWTH Aachen (GER)
  • Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia (GER)
  • Maastricht University Medical Center (NL)
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs (NL)
  • Parc Tauli Sabadell University Hospital (ES)
  • L'Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya (ES)
  • East Limburg Hospital (BE)
  • Oulu University Hospital (FIN)
     

THALEA II consortium:

  • Uniklinik RWTH Aachen (GER)
  • Federal Procurement Agency (BBG), “Bundesbeschaffung GmbH” (AUT)
  • Maastricht University Medical Center (NL)
  • Parc Tauli Sabadell University Hospital (ES)
  • L'Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya (ES)
  • City of Vienna AKH (AUT)
     

THALEA I

THALEA II

Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) – The development of a tailored, innovative solution

  • Identified need is answered by cooperation of industry and research
  • Bringing market participants and  stakeholders together
  • Focus on interoperability and scalability
 

Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) –
The procurement of a market-ready solution

  • A product has been bought and evaluated by UKA (consortium lead) and partners as early adopters
  • Price savings through EU-Contribution and positive effects of buyers group
  • PPI-projects support leading role and increase competition in Europe
 


THALEA I - Clearly identified demand and strategy detected by international ICU experts, consented by multidisciplinary stakeholders (IT-experts, excellence cluster eHealth, insurance companies and ministries) during pre-consortium meeting ensures a perfect match of demand, strategy and funding instrument in an early phase of the project.

Bringing market participants and stakeholders (procurers, ICU-specialist, IT-specialist) in close collaboration, PCP within THALEA will create an appropriate common solution fulfilling demands of a telemedicine research framework.

Focus on interoperability and scalability will lay foundations for future follow-up projects in telemedicine. Compliance with Directive 95/46/EC is granted by limiting access to sensitive data to health professionals with obligation of professional secrecy and data transfer bound to provision of care in a tele-ICU service.


THALEA IIdelivering the innovative telemedicine systems that today’s overwhelmed intensive care units demand!

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for telemedicine services. THALEA II is the first ever follow-up PPI in the healthcare sector, in which an innovation has been successfully procured and implemented in daily practice and real-life usage!’


Why PPI?

‘PPI shortens the route to market, allowing early adopters to implement an innovation and enabling public procurers to efficiently answer market demand with innovative products.’


Road from PCP to PPI

  • Submission of PPI proposal THALEA II in April 2015
  • Granted in August 2015
  • Project start of THALEA II in June 2016
  • Successful purchase of three THALEA II solutions in 2020/2021

First project in Germany, which received funding for both procuring methods (PCP and PPI) and successfully purchased the developed innovations!

1. Provide ICU experts with all essential data and needs to assess and treat patients as well as consult care teams in remote ICU locations in Europe.

2. Capable to extract real time data from existing Patient Data Management Systems (PDMS) (expected to be interoperable due to THALEA II functional requirements) --> create a common telemedicine platform in ICUs and develop a European ICU outcomes registry.

3. Creation of a second information system for Tele-ICUs: capture workflow data, psychological parameters, current medication as well as laboratory results from patients which can be analysed in real-time and subsequently enable telemedical ICU staff to monitor an entire ICU patient population.


As a result:

  • Identify more patients at risk for deterioration or death.
  • Earlier detection of more potential threats, like lack of compliance with safety and treatment standards.
  • Improvement of guideline adherence and provision of assistance in medication adjustments.
  • Especially in times of pandemic developments and COVID-19, telemedical solutions become a crucial factor in delivering high-quality, constant, and specialized care to a broad public and a high number of patients in need of critical care. Intensive care specialists, including physicians and nursing staff are under very high pressure, due to the constantly high amount of intensive care patients and also due to a lack of health care professionals.

Since the start of COVID-19, a decrease among ICU staff in Europe is detected even though the workload increases tremendously. This is an unfavourable development, which could lead to a collapse of the system, as worst-case scenario. 


Benefits for the User:

  • Prevent and hamper this worst-case scenario, by providing a second-security layer to the front-line intensive care workers.
  • Narrowly examine a high amount of patient data --> faster detection of patient deterioration and increased dialogue between health care professionals of different hospitals
  • Awareness raising for innovative procurement, closing the innovation gap in Europe, a scientific impact on ICUs, a new approach in intensive care medicine resulting in improved outcome of intensive care regardless where a patient is located and the project will fit with future research strategies aimed for in the Horizon 2020 and FP9 program. 
  • Stimulate collaboration between science and industry as well as between different countries all over Europe. As THALEA and THALEA II are the first projects receiving funding for PCP and a follow-up PPI those projects will serve as an example for PCP/PPI in the healthcare settings in Europe and will stimulate future projects and innovations in this sector. 

 

THALEA brought an innovative product to the European healthcare market, aiming to mitigate negative impacts concerning the greatest European socio-economic challenges of the 21st century in healthcare:

  1. Ageing of society and workforce
    This development challenges the healthcare sector, due to an imbalance between the increasing number of EU-citizens requiring care and the decreasing number of human resources on the caregiving side. Especially in the current pandemic, innovations like THALEA are more important than ever. THALEA has helped and will help to treat patients with severe disease like COVID-19 better, due to increased possibility of information exchange and sharing experiences and expertise between health care professionals on a more frequent basis.
     
  2. Urgent need for innovative solutions disburdening healthcare professionals
    There is evidence suggesting that telemedicine has the ability to mitigate these problematic pan-European challenges. The promising technology of THALEA II has been successfully implemented, helping to save more lives and increase patients’ quality of life. This project has created the potential to lift European competitiveness and exceed research and development in comparison to the US and demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach with respect to innovative management and procurement methods. 
     
  3. Interoperability and Scalability
    THALEA and THALEA II have created an appropriate solution fulfilling all demands of a tele-medical research framework with a special focus on interoperability and scalability. THALEA addressed the need for a marketable, advanced solution, applicable on a broad basis, avoiding vendor lock-in. Using the PPI-funding instrument, procuring entities and ICU experts purchased the advanced THALEA solution, developed during PCP. Thereby, this promising technology has been spread over Europe assisting caregivers in intensive care units and consequently improving the quality of life and wellbeing of many EU citizens.  
     
  4. The Framework
    THALEA laid the fundamental basis for numerous PCP projects in the EU, in some of which the coordinator UKA is still consortium partner. But THALEA not only boosted the funding scheme PCP/PPI, it also generated a tremendous European network, including partners from various fields of expertise, university hospitals, general hospitals, Med-Tech companies, global players, SMEs, and national ministries. European PCP projects funded under Horizon2020, like Nightingale, Antisuperbugs, or most recent eCare, are based on the success of THALEA. 
     
  5. The Network
    European cooperation’s and projects were a result of successful project work of THALEA´s consortium. The Smart4Health project as well as most recently the ICU4Covid project take telemedical developments into account in order to increase quality of care and most important: save more lives!

During the project, researchers developed a telemedicine technology aimed at supporting ICU specialists in their day-to-day routines. ‘The technology serves as an intermediary between specialists located in the ICU and those located at a telemedicine center,’ explains Marx. ‘By sharing patient data and parameters via the THALEA system, this team can identify critical situations faster and adapt treatment more efficiently.’

The innovative THALEA system was prepared for marketisation during the THALEA II project. After successfully getting the THALEA system certified, THALEA II researchers turned to securing buyers. ‘These buyers will purchase a highly innovative, telemedical software solution – which is a huge success for both the project and the European Commission,’ notes Marx.

Most recently, the project published a call for tenders, which was followed by an extremely important purchasing of the product by Aachen University Hospital in Germany. The system has now been deployed at 18 hospitals across Austria and Germany, where it is already being used to help ICUs treat COVID-19 patients. In light of the pandemic, medical and IT specialists are currently working at full speed 2 of 5 Keywords and with all the necessary resources to install the THALEA systems, not only in Austria and Germany, but also across Europe. ‘The pandemic has given this work a sense of urgency, as our telemedicine system is well-positioned to provide specialized, effective care and treatment to a large number of ICUs,’ concludes Marx. ‘I am happy to say that we successfully responded to this urgency and have delivered ICUs with an effective, tailored way to provide the best care to their patients.’

‘THALEA II is the first ever follow-up PPI in the healthcare sector, in which an innovation has been successfully procured and implemented in daily practice and real-life usage! ‘

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for telemedicine services. Using a process called public procurement of innovative solutions, the EU-funded THALEA II project is delivering the innovative telemedicine systems that today’s overwhelmed Intensive Care Units demand.’

‘The aim of both projects was to develop a manufacturer-independent, interoperable software solution for intensive care telemedicine,’ says Gernot Marx, THALEA II project coordinator. ‘Such solutions will enable ICUs to detect complications quicker, which in turn will result in a better quality of life for intensive care patients and – most importantly – more lives being saved.’

‘The focus of the THALEA II project is to push these telemedicine systems to market using public procurement of innovative solutions (PPI). According to Marx, PPI is what happens when the public sector uses its purchasing power to act as an early adopter of the innovative solutions developed during pre-commercial procurement (PCP), the focus of the THALEA project.’

‘PPI shortens the route to market, allowing early adopters to implement an innovation and enabling public procurers to efficiently answer market demand with innovative products,’ adds Marx.

Smart4Health:

eCare:

Nightingale:

ICU4-COVID: