The Follow.Me solution will be tested in three different locations and two stages. The Follow.Me prototype will be tested through validation with the realistic environment of the University and emergency hospital of Bucharest, with the patients of the LiCalab and WGKL/Careville living labs and the AIT and the Medical University of Vienna (home trials). We will recruit users and will agree with them the conditions to participate. The end user organisations will have responsibility for recruiting targeted end users and ensuring that they fulfill the required technical prerequisites.
Important for the project is an involvement of end users throughout the whole project duration (from requirements analysis, to usability engineering, interface design, pre-testing and final evaluation). We will do these evaluations with basically two different end user stakeholder groups. One group is the group of the elderly people and patients which are using the Follow.Me system. The other group is the group of informal and formal caregivers which comprises the group of clinical experts, carers as well as family members of the patients and elderly people.
Requirements, usability engineering, application design and pre-testing
In this stage mainly involving WP2 and WP3 we will involve end users in our requirement analysis, usability engineering as well as application design. This will happen with 20 end users (patients) and 10 formal and informal caregivers (experts) at the premises of UHB in Romania, 5 end users and their informal caregivers and 5 nurses (formal caregivers) of the home care organization WGKL/Careville in Belgium, 5 end users and 5 informal caregivers/care professionals at the living lab of LiCalab in Belgium, and another 5 end user (patients) and 5 clinical experts at the living labs of AIT in Austria together with the patients and experts from the Medical University hospital of Vienna (MUW) and the memory clinic2 lead by Prof. Dal-Bianco.
Final Evaluation in clinical trials and in-home piloting
The final evaluation of the Follow.Me solution will be tested in WP4. The final evaluation will take place again in three countries in Europe (Romania, Belgium and Austria). The evaluation will involve the complete systems and is planned with at least 50 end users (patients) and at least 50 experts and carers (family members and formal caregivers). The evaluation will involve 20 end users and experts from UHB in Romania. UHB will take care of clinical practices including in-home tests. The evaluation in Belgium will be conducted by LiCalab and WGKL/Careville, which will involve 20 end users and 20 caregivers on the whole. The evaluation in Austria will take together with AIT and MUW / memory clinic, which will at least involve 10 end users (patients) and at least 10 experts and carers (family members and formal caregivers).
UHB clinic in Romania:
The University and Emergency Hospital of Bucharest (UHB) - where the field trials will be conducted - was opened in 1978 as a clinical unit with legal authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health of Romania. UHB is a public health unit whose role is to assure medical services (emergency, prevention, recovery, and palliative care) and also an University hospital, with a sustained scientific activity.
UHB clinic in Romania:
The Wit-Gele Kruis (Limburg), one of the major homecare organizations for home care nursing in Flanders is already for more than 75 years taking care of patients in their own home environment. Everyone, needing acute or chronic care can request care from the Wit-Gele Kruis Limburg. Its mission describes the commitment to all patients to provide them with the best care possible in their own home environment. The expertise and experiences of the employees allows the Wit-Gele Kruis Limburg to form a bridge between the industry/technology and the patient in their home, the end-users of this project.
The non-profit organisation Wit-Gele Kruis Limburg employs more than 1500 nurses and help more than 15000 patients every month.
Besides nursing WGKL/Careville has experience with projects concerning fallrisks, medication dispensers and medication requirements, personal alarm systems, and several other cooperations with organisations like Life tech Limburg, universities. As partner in CareVille, the Wit-Gele Kruis has a lot of experience in living lab projects, which focus on end-user involvement (co-creation sessions, life testings).
LiCalab in Belgium:
Since 2012, LiCalab has built a large community of +/- 1000 elderly people (60+) and informal caregivers, mainly living in their own homes or in service flats/ nursing homes and 600 care organisations (hospitals, home care, GP‘s, nursing homes etc..). LiCalab manages relevant data of these groups within a segmented and profiled user-database. LiCaLab uses co-creation techniques to experiment with new products, services and societal infrastructures. This co-creation process puts users and citizens in the center of innovation and societal experimentation, to create new systems, services, products, business models and societal models. Value creation by multidisciplinary collaboration can link social innovation with technological innovation. A close collaboration between government, research and industrial partners, health institutions and users is crucial in this co-creation process. LiCaLab therefore falls back on a broad network of partners, both profit and non-profit organizations with expertise in Living and Care.
AIT living labs in Austria:
The biomedical systems group of the AIT is perfectly connected to all AAL stakeholders in Austria and is involved in research and pilot region projects with national end user organizations. For testing and evaluation purposes the biomedical system group is running a in house living lab ―2Raumwohnung‖. The Zweiraumwohnung (―two-room apartment―) is AIT‘s ambient assisted living laboratory, featuring a bedroom and a combined kitchen/living room which are furnished as a typical elderly apartment and outfitted with a wide array of sensing, communication, and assistive technologies – all coordinated via AIT‘s HOMER middleware platform. The laboratory is used for developing and testing new hardware and software solutions, as well as collecting detailed datasets which can be used to develop behavior pattern recognition algorithms. The typical array of smart home sensors – such as motion, door state, bed/chair pressure, and temperature sensors, etc. – can be augmented with electrocardiogram, breath rate, multi-point accelerometer/gyroscope, and full audio and video coverage, allowing a wide range of experiments and evaluations to be performed.
MUW clinic in Austria:
MedUni Vienna is not only the largest medical organisation in Austria, it is also one of the most important top-level research institutions in Europe and provides Europe's largest hospital, the AKH in Vienna, with all of its medical staff. With its long history and tradition, which covers 640 years, MedUni has developed into a highly modern research institution that covers an area of 40,000 m2. It employs a staff of 5,000, of which 1,800 are researchers and 1,600 are medical doctors. Each year 100,000 patients are treated as inpatients in 31 university clinics, 48,000 operations are conducted and 605,000 outpatients receive initial treatment in the day-clinics. In its structuring and alignment MedUni Vienna relies on the "triple track" strategy. Research, education and patient care represent the three cornerstones of the university's system. Also the disciplines of ethics, medical law, care related research, palliative medicine and health economics are of central importance. MedUni Vienna is Austria's largest medical training centre. Under the guidance of 1,000 teachers, some 8,000 students are currently completing their studies in human medicine and dentistry. The attractive spectrum, which includes doctoral and PhD programmes, makes MedUni Vienna one of the most important centres for postgraduate training and the promotion of young researchers in the international vocational training market.
Each user will sign an informed consent and information will be sent to the families/guardian, where necessary. UHB will produce, according to the input coming from technical partners, a detailed protocol for each pilot, which will explain the recruitment criteria and procedures, the protocol for each user (duration of tests per day, roles of support staff, protocol of use of the system), and the methodology to evaluate the results of the trials. The hospital will provide feedback on system functionality, its acceptability and usability from the end-users point of view. For each trial, the afferent pilot methodology will be prepared. This will include: the criteria to be used, the users involved and a justification for their selection, the description of the tests to be performed, an analysis of the results the criteria defining the success of the experimentation. In all trial sites one pre-trial operation will take place in month 8 of the project. The real pilots will run in operational environments settings and will start in month 22 and last for 3 months in all trial sites involving the planned number of people. The pilot deployment aims at demonstrating the success criteria of the idea and the overall system. Achievements will be fully documented in the validation report.