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Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-03-31

RELIEF project aims at implementing a Pre-Commercial Procurement tender to find innovative ICT solutions that improve the self-management of chronic pain patients.

General Chronic Pain is a very common pathology suffered by more than 95 million of European (between 4%-10% of adult population), implying significant direct costs to healthcare systems (annually over 300bn euros in Europe); furthermore inappropriate and ineffective management and treatment generates repetitive visits to primary care physicians, and referrals to specialists. Although, nowadays there are clinics specialised in diagnosing and treating patients with chronic pain, not everybody can access to these specialized pain clinics and services; also the type of service may vary significantly.

In this regard, clinicians need to work in collaboration with patients to identify the optimal therapy for each individual; It is also critical that patients receive treatment as soon as possible.
On the other hand, medical market of electronic devices is growing at a huge rate in the past few years, however only a few of them have been directly supervised by clinicians. Only little research has been done in the field of chronic pain management or self-management.

RELIEF was conceived with the response to cover these gaps and expanding the range and reach the quality of chronic pain self-management supporting people with chronic pain, their carers and their families.

In this sense, the project will aim at identifying solutions for chronic pain self-management through the development of a joined Pre Commercial Procurement.

The project has created a network of procuring organisations, from France, Sweden and Spain, with a common challenge and identified unmet needs that are going to launch and implement a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) to buy research and development services to develop innovative solutions that solve this common challenge: How to improve the self-management of chronic pain patients using ICT.

By acting as first buyers of new R&D, public procurers can drive innovation from the demand side. This enables European public authorities to innovate upon the provision of public services faster and create opportunities for companies in Europe to take international leadership within new markets.
During the first year of the project, the RELIEF consortium was working on the preparation stage of the PCP call for tender.

For that purpose an overview of the legal and political framework regarding Innovation procurement in France, Spain and Sweden was performed in order to acquire an insight in the political and legal framework as well as to identify potential barriers and opportunities for implementation of the PCP process in the involved countries.

In addition, an identification of the PCP required documents to facilitate the understanding of the whole PCP process was done. This identified documents and information served the RELIEF consortium so as to prepare our own RELIEF PCP call for tender documents.

Furthermore, a validation at buyer’s group level of the common unmet needs to deeply define the RELIEF common challenge was accomplished. To do that, interviews to strategic stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, chronic pain patients, eHealth associations, etc. from the countries involved were conducted; a co-creation workshop with chronic pain patients and Pain Units clinicians was organized and finally, several experts meetings among consortium members were held.

After that, several activities were conducted to present the RELIEF PCP challenge to the eHealth industry so as to obtain their feedback regarding the PCP tender procedure and the common unmet needs. These Open Market Consultation Activities has served to redefine the RELIEF challenge as well as some PCP tender aspects to be more in line with the expectations and feasibility assessment from the supplier’s side.

Now, the RELIEF consortium is working on the elaboration of the PCP call for tender documents, which are expected to be published in June 2017.

This RELIEF PCP tender is an opportunity opened to all interested eHealth entities to develop new products and services related to real users’ needs.

All information related to the Market Consultation and PCP tender can be found on the RELIEF webpage:
At this stage of the project, it should be mentioned that some of the expected potential impacts are slowly beginning to materialize. However, the impact will be better monitor in the following period of the project.

It should be remarked that after the implementation of the preparation stage of the PCP the RELIEF project is contributing to facilitate the introduction of innovative eHealth solutions by suppliers and also to improve the development of a multi-stakeholder ecosystem. This expected impact is checked by the good acceptance of the RELIEF PCP by interested suppliers that has participated in the Open Market Consultation. More than 100 participants were involved in the OMC activities.