Telemed5000: Increase the capacity of telemedicine with artificial intelligence

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Berlin, 02.09.2019 – The telemedical co-management of patients with chronic heart failure has proven its worth. But so far, a single telemedicine center has not been able to care for more than 500 patients. The project Telemed5000 of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin aims to develop an intelligent system for the telemedical co-management of several thousand cardiological risk patients. This is to be achieved with the help of innovative technical possibilities. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy is funding the project for three years with around 4.5 million euros – of which the Charité as consortium leader will receive 2.1 million euros.

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Telemed5000 is based on the Charité’s five-year Fontane study*. This had proved for the first time that the telemedical Co-supervision can extend the life of heart patients and spend these fewer days in the hospital. It is equally suitable for patients in rural and metropolitan areas. In Germany alone, around 2.5 million people suffer from chronic heart failure, and around 300,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. With the current capacities of a telemedicine centre, these large patient groups cannot be adequately cared for. Therefore, the Charité and its German-Austrian consortium partners from industry and science are breaking new ground: With the help of the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI), such as deep learning and the Internet of Things, a system solution is to be developed that makes the management of large numbers of patients in standard care technically possible.

“So far, however, there has been a lack of technical innovations in order to be able to offer telemedical assistance to the approximately 200,000 risk patients affected in Germany. We have extrapolated this in the Fontane study: In Germany alone, 200 telemedicine centers would have to be set up, operating 24/7, to clinically evaluate 500 to 750 patients per center every day. That is financially and personnelwise an unrealistic conversion scenario , says Professor Dr. Friedrich Köhler , director of the center for cardiovascular telemedicine and director of the Fontane study.

In the Telemed5000 project, AI methods will therefore be used to “pre-process” the vital data of the patients who arrive at the telemedicine centre daily and thus support the medical staff in their decisions. In addition to medically and technically proven measuring devices such as scales and blood pressure monitors, the use of smartphones and wearables is intended to record new vital parameters such as the patient’s voice and physical activity. This sensor technology is integrated into the overall system and the parameters are then evaluated by algorithms and help to detect any deterioration in the patient’s state of health at an early stage. In addition, an AI-based analyzer will take over the “pre-processing” of the ECG performed by the patient at home.

High priority in AI projects is given to compliance with data protection regulations and data processing in compliance with data protection regulations. This represents a central challenge and is continuously taken into account from the start of the project in the development and application of innovations in order to guarantee data protection principles at all times and to protect the rights of individuals.

Telemed5000
Telemed5000 is implemented with a German and an Austrian partner: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, GETEMED Medizin- und Informationstechnik AG, University of Potsdam – Hasso Plattner Institute, SYNIOS Document & Workflow Management GmbH, Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS. The partner Austrian Institute of Technology is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) with around 250,000 euros for its sub-project and cooperates with the HerzMobil Network Tyrol and the Regional Institute for Integrated Care of the Tirol Kliniken GmbH in Innsbruck.

*Fontane study
The five-year Fontane study of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has proven for the first time that telemedical co-care can prolong the lives of heart patients and that they spend fewer days in hospital. Telemedicine is equally suitable for patients in rural and metropolitan areas. The study with more than 1,500 patients was carried out with various partners and in close cooperation with two major health insurance companies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded the project “Health Region of the Future North Brandenburg – Fontane” with 10.2 million euros. The results were presented in August 2018.