***Closing date is tentative***
SUB TOPIC OPENING AND CLOSING DATES
e-Patient: open 6 July 2022 to 16 September 2022 at 13:00 CEST
Healthcare system transformation: open 16 September 2022 to 28 October 2022 at 13:00 CEST
Healthy cities: open 28 October 2022 to 9 December 2022 at 13:00 CET
The COVID pandemic highlighted the need for digital reinvention and adoption of healthcare technology solutions, accelerating the digital transformation and introducing a paradigm shift in medical care, moving towards a medical approach that is more predictive, preventive, personalised and participatory. The deployment of digital solutions integrated with terrestrial and space technologies, particularly satellite-terrestrial 5G networks, indoor/outdoor position, navigation and timing (PNT), artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) is the opportunity to innovate the healthcare systems, moving towards more advanced and new digital services.
Connectivity and connected devices are the basis for providing and delivering these new services applying digital solutions to some aspects of health, healthcare, or related areas. There is also an increase in demand from the rural communities, leading to an increase in being able to operate decentralised medical services in those areas. 5G will offer the needed bandwidth and therefore is expected to be the key enabler for these new solutions, offering real-time and high-quality video capabilities to various platforms. Applications such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will further enhance doctors’ abilities to deliver innovative and less invasive treatments but can also be used for own personal and skills development. IoT devices, such as wearables, will be able to deliver real time remote monitoring and increase patient engagement. Finally, the vast amount of data needed for real-time rapid learning through AI will support more efficient remote diagnostics and provide early interventions if necessary.
It estimated that by 2025, digital products and services in the healthcare sector will grow to a market share of 12%, nearly 1 trillion Euro, within the total healthcare sector worldwide. Moreover, it is estimated that 20% of medical services could be replaced by artificial intelligence, especially in diagnosis, prevention, and monitoring.
TOPICS OF RELEVANCE
This Kick-Start theme focuses on some of the new healthcare ecosystem trends, main actors, needs and the potential role of space technologies in the attempt to identify and enable new markets development and business opportunities fueled by the digital transformation of the sector.
The Kick-Start call will be organised in three main sub-thematic calls, each addressing key topics of relevance:
Today, medicine and scientific innovation moves at an incredibly rapid pace and there is a huge amount of information that can be easily accessed online. This is why many patients started taking a more active approach in looking after their health alongside their physicians. Nevertheless, the online space is experiencing an enormous growth of material lacking of any scientific foundations, which can create anxiousness on potential diseases or effectiveness of medical treatments, often leading to uneducated decisions.
Medical online support groups have become an important healthcare resource to address this challenge. These groups can provide emotional support, guidance, health information, and medical referrals for nearly all medical conditions around the world, 24 hours every day and for free. They support self-education and self-responsibility, encourage patients' initiatives and assertiveness, and provide members with an opportunity to help others.
These trends highlight opportunities to create more inclusive and patient-centric solutions to address the information appetite from information-savvy patients and help them navigate the information jungle filtering out any fake / misinformed data.
Healthcare system transformation
The acceleration due to the COVID-19 pandemic for digital transformation and adoption of new healthcare technology solutions to better serve the communities is of concern not only for the healthcare industry in general but also for those who deliver health and human services, via telehealth or in person, to drive improvements in cost, quality, innovation, and outcomes. The pandemic has amplified known vulnerabilities in the healthcare systems and what was once now a delayed upgrade becomes an urgent requirement.
New trends have come to light characterised by the need of increased agility, capability of moving fast in high-impact situations, better prevention and personalisation and can be supported by embracing digital technology and adoption of new operating models. Therefore, healthcare institutions are setting up strategies for introducing new technologies in their systems to enable greater efficiency, flexibility, and agility.
In particular, the pandemic has underlined the need for innovative solutions to support automation of healthcare related processes to reduce exposure and risks to operators.
In today’s changing climate with periods of more frequent, longer lasting extreme wind, snow, cold, and heat, cities must address these new realities and put people’s health, resilience, and comfort at their core. A healthy city is one that is conscious of the health of its citizens and is striving to improve it by putting in place the processes and structures to achieve this. This is done by continually creating and improving the city’s physical and social environment, minimising the negative environmental, economic, societal, and health effects generated using its facilities and resources, and emphasising the inclusiveness and wellbeing of its citizens. The priorities for this sub-thematic call are comfort and wellbeing of citizens and creating a healthy environment and energy efficiency. The aim is to leverage space data and digital technologies to monitor and manage these aspects. IoT devices could be used for detecting comfort levels and energy efficiency and for subsequently taking corrective actions. For example, IoT devices deployed throughout the city can monitor pollution, noise, and natural risks, and manage public spaces and facilities to reduce or avoid negative impacts on community health.
VALUE OF SPACE
The opportunity to use space assets, eventually integrated with other technologies, for the above topics are many. Some (non-exhaustive) examples are listed hereafter.
Satellite Communications can be used to:
- Enable (real-time) remote digital monitoring (e.g. IoT, wearables, sensors) that can be used to monitor the patient’s condition (mental and physical wellbeing) and for preventive care.
- Enable more timely diagnostics, second opinions, treatment starts and adjustments by faster sharing of large data files containing information on patients between doctors, ambulances, and hospitals.
- Enable remote diagnosis for patients by enabling them to engage with doctors through real-time telepresence systems (e.g., videoconferencing, immersive reality) or live chat functionalities.
Satellite Navigation can be used to:
- Enable georeferencing for high precision positioning, navigation and tracking people, sensors, etc.
Satellite Earth Observation can be used to:
- Collect information on geographical and environmental parameters.
- Monitor pollution levels and associated respiratory and broader health risks to relevant communities.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR
Kick-Start activities explore the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g., Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Spaceflight Technology). This call for Kick-Start activities is dedicated to the theme ‘Post-COVID Health and Well-being Kick-Start, which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the themes in this domain.
HOW TO APPLY
- Register by completing the online questionnaire on esa-star registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’)
- Visit esa-star publications and search for this opportunity to download the official tender documentation. Official documents will include proposal templates, a draft contract, and additional information about this opportunity.
- Use the official documents to prepare your proposal.
- Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
- Submit your proposal via esa-star Tendering by the deadline.
AUTHORISATION OF FUNDING
ESA Space Solutions can provide funding to perform Kick-Start activities to any company (economic operator) residing in the following Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Germany and Luxembourg have pre-authorised this call. However, please note that, currently, Austria, Greece, and Switzerland are not supporting Kick-Start activities at all.
Applicants must inform the National Delegation of the country they are residing in to obtain a letter of authorisation allowing the funding of the proposed activity. Contact details of each national delegate can be found here.
Kick-Start activities are funded at 75% by the European Space Agency (ESA) for a maximum of €60K per contract.
Webinars are scheduled for the following dates:
- 11:00 CEST, 30th June 2022
- Mohanad Mohsen, OneHealth by AXA
- Cristina Claussen, Director in Patient Advocacy at Pfizer