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Robots, IoT and AI for shaping the hospital of the future. An investment of 40 millions of Euro

Hospitals must increase their efficiency and productivity and boost quality and safety, while containing and reducing costs. This cannot be an untaught linear reduction. For instance, the number of ICU beds per million of EU habitants was reduced of 75% in the past 30 years, also in response to the unneglectable need to invest on territory healthcare services in response to demographic challenges. This left EU Hospitals completely unprepared to the COVID-19 pandemics.

In order to respond to this challenge the European Commission has invested 40 millions of EURO with a dedicated call, which has selected 4 projects our of 85 proposals.

Dr Leandro Pecchia from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, is a key member European collaborative team that has been awarded one of those 4 project, the ODIN project. The ODIN project has a total value of €13 millions for 21 partners from 11 EU countries. This project will support 2 senior PDRAs, which will join Dr Pecchia team in 2021.

Dr Pecchia said:

We have identified 11 hospital critical challenges, which ODIN will face combining robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to empower workers, medical locations, logistics and interaction with the territory. ODIN will deploy technologies along three lines of intervention:

· empowering workers using AI, cybernetics and bionics;

· introducing autonomous and collaborative robots for enhancing hospital efficacy and safety;

· introducing and enhancing medical locations and medical device management with IoT and video analytics

These areas of intervention will be piloted in six top hospitals in six European cities (Berlin in Germany, Paris in France, Rome in Italy, Madrid in Spain, Utrecht in The Netherland and Lodz in Poland), spanning from clinical to logistic interventions, including patient management, disaster preparedness (e.g., reorganising Hospitals in case of pandemics) and hospital resiliency.

ODIN pilot will be a federation of multicentre longitudinal cohort studies, demonstrating the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ODIN technologies for the enhancement of hospital safety, productivity and quality.

ODIN vision is that as Evidence Based Medicine revolutionized medicine with data-driven procedures, so data-driven management, enabled by Industry 4.0 technologies, can revolutionise hospital management.

Beyond this project, I believe it is important to appreciate that our successes in the H2020 are the results of several factors, including vision, competence and constructive collaboration with European Scholars. This proposal in particular, is the result of the collaboration with Dr Giuseppe Fico, which visited Warwick last year as IAS Fernandes Fellow.

This is the 5th successful project written by Dr Pecchia and his EU partners in the past 12 months, focusing on IoT, AI, Robots and big-data for healthcare.

Sat 03 Oct 2020, 15:49 | Tags: COVID, Industry 4.0, medical device


The lab is deeply involved in the Global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in three main areas:

    • regulatory framework for PPE and medical devices
    • telemedicine for monitoring of COVID19 and to provide continuity of care to chronic patients
    • AI for early detection of pneumonia
    • Training, sharing of best practices
Supporting the WHO with PPE, medical devices and training/dissemination

Dr Pecchia is part of an international team of experts helping WHO in identifying essential COVID medical devices and preparing specifications for helping Hospitals/MoH, in particular in LMICs. You can find here the WHO tools onine

As trersaurer of the IFMBE CED, I am part of an international team which organised a series of webinars on COVID-19 and medical devices in collaboration with the WHO. The program is available here.

Support Manufacturers

We have supported manufacturers who have been willing to convert their productions and move into PPE or Medical Devices. In particular, we have supported few manufacturers navigating the regulatory framework, informing their design with relevant harmonized standards and norms.

Telemedicine, AI and IoT

The main focus of our lab is on Telemedcine, AI and IoT for health. We have several projects in this area, which are described here. The last and wider is teh GATEKEEPER project (£20mil, 500,000 patients, 8 European NHSs). Telemedicine is a key instrument to fight COVID-19.

We have supported an Italian company to adapt their platform for COVID. This is now serving 20,000+ self-isolated patients and citizens in Rome Region, which use the platform to monitor their data, and transmit those to their local NHS Trust. Further details are available here.

We have supported the Bangor Hospital (NHS north Wales Trust) in respond to the NHSx call for COVID-19. With this call, the hospital will use an App and a wearable sensor to monitor, at home, cancer patients. This will ensure them the continuity of care, while keeping them at home, minimizing hospital accesses as much as possible.

AI for pneumonia detection via symptoms

We are developing an AI system to detect pneumonia from symptoms. This is not COVID specific because data on COVID are not available yet. We are using a dataset from Bosnia (one of the LMIC I have been working with) learning how to distinguish pneumonia from bronchitis and normal influence, but we believe the work we will produce can be then adapted for COVID if/when data will become available.


The one described above are all Global Challenges. Our activities are directly/indirectly the result of our experiences in previous EPSRC GCRF and IAA funded projects. We were considering these topics for limited resources settings (i.e., telemedicine, AI, minimum requirements, regulatory framework, heath technology assessment…) and to many extends a pandemic crisis create a situation that is, de facto, a limited resource one (not enough beds, not enough devices, not enough experiences staff…)

Here our latest publication on similitude between COVID-19 and LMICs, in regard to the limits of current international regulatory frameworks for PPE. The same probably applies to medical devices. Here the paper.

Tue 05 May 2020, 18:17 | Tags: COVID, medical device, LMIC, Regulatory Science