Skip to main content

Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIH-HERO (Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

The route for embedding medical innovations in clinical practice is tough, time-consuming and requires substantial investments. It involves clinical testing, developing efficient production methods, reaching investors, establishing a company and handling distribution, just to mention a few steps. Furthermore, multiple actors are working on various innovations in robotics. The major objective of the DIH-HERO project (Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics) is to establish a broad-based pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs specialized in Healthcare Robotics. The network focuses on providing services which connect business and healthcare stakeholders in developing innovative products and services for the healthcare market. It is aimed to establish channels between healthcare and technology providers that reduce barriers to adoption and create strong mutual understanding between robotics technology innovators and healthcare professionals. Each hub within DIH-HERO follows the ambition to deliver both technical and medical expertise through their pre-existing operational relationships with hospitals and healthcare facilities. This initiative unites expertise in business development, access to finance and innovation to robotics technology and healthcare expertise in a network of hubs that will connect and stimulate robotics innovation in all aspects of healthcare. Through this, the platform will significantly leverage added value throughout the entire value chain in the healthcare ecosystem, by sharing knowledge, connecting the right stakeholders and stimulating tailored investments. In addition, DIH-HERO is built on concrete plans to sustain the network beyond the time span of the project and to provide a long-term network for innovators in healthcare. The network of Digital Innovation Hubs will make a real difference through accelerating robotics innovation in healthcare, supporting SMEs and slightly larger companies to develop global reach and propagating the advantages of robotics-based healthcare across Europe, striving to bring excellent products and services to the market, to the best benefit of the end-consumer - the patient.
During the first year of the DIH-HERO the following activities have been performed:

Work package 1:
• Capturing initial knowledge and insights for establishing the required portal specifications
• Specifications for initial portal delivery to partners
• Specifications for associate partner network portal and public network access

Work package 2:
• Developing and implementing the communication concept for DIH-HERO
• Preparing dissemination material such as general presentations, leaflets, and newsletters, shared which our partners to be distributed throughout the networks and during external or DIH-HERO events.
• Promoting DIH-HERO, its benefits and services through the using various communication channels.
• Representing DIH-HERO during various events.

Work package 3:
• Defining a model for the DIH-HERO service offer including categories of services
• Capturing and categorising the needs of the EU healthcare ecosystem and state-of-play
• Establishing a plan to create concrete service designs and offers for each service category

Work package 4:
• Preparation of call documents
• Setting up procedures for call implementation, management and evaluation
• Building up an online submission platform for the Travel Voucher Call, the Technology Demonstrator Call and the Technology Transfer Experiment Call
• Establishing up a basic online call handling system including an online evaluation workflow for the Technology Demonstrator and Technology Transfer experiment call
• Organising info days within the different Digital Innovation Hubs
• Opening of the first Travel Voucher Call as well as evaluation of submitted applications
• Opening of the first Technology Demonstrator Call
• Organising an international Brokerage event in Twente

Work package 5:
• Conducting a set of interviews with a panel of healthcare professionals to understand their attitudes to innovation, their needs and their worries about disruptive technologies such as healthcare robotics
• Conducting first design-thinking exercise with Italian and international representatives of different hospitals, healthcare insurance companies, academics and policy makers to map the recurrent pathways in innovation adoption and implementation, to track the key relationships among the relevant stakeholders of the healthcare robotics market.
• Organising a second international design-thinking event to which all DIH-HERO partners have been invited. In Genoa, DIH-HERO partners were divided in groups with people from different countries but similar backgrounds to discussed about different stakeholders’ perspectives
• Executing a round of interviews to people attending the brokerage event in Twente to understand what kind of support they are currently asking for and getting from their local DIHs and what they would improve.

Work package 6:
• Basic DIH-HERO web-portal online
• FSTP handling platform online

Work package 7:
• A questionnaire concerning the industry-led standards and best practises has been developed
• Several interviews concerning industry-led standards and best practises have been conducted
• Publishing of online knowledge base of best practises

Work package 8:
• Kick-off meeting has been held with the entire consortium in Amsterdam
• Great communication structure has been set up through biweekly consortium meetings have been held via a teleconference tool
• Two face-to-face consortium meetings during the reporting period
• Development and implementation of a quality control plan
• Development of a data management plan
Through establishing a broad-based pan-European innovation and collaboration platform for healthcare robotics, the DIH-HERO network expects to increase the deployment of robotics in the healthcare application domains by connecting the different stakeholders across the value chain and enabling innovators, and SMEs in particular, to successfully develop and introduce products to the market. Furthermore, SME cross-border certification shall be facilitated through offering access to industry-led standards, best practices, ELSE knowhow and a knowledge base accessible via the central European DIH-HERO portal. This will help SMEs and increase their knowledge of standards and the essential but time consuming certification processes. In regard to the economic impact of the DIH-HERO platform it can be stated that the DIH-HERO platform is expected to reduce the time-to-market of new innovations in healthcare robotics significantly. This shall be achieved by offering various services and accelerating European collaboration. By offering not only financial support to innovative SMEs and slightly larger companies, but also effective entrepreneurship support that integrates key elements such as strategic management, technology and business coaching and ideation workshops in order to stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset and to create and empower innovative ecosystems to start-up and of new businesses around the platform and to scale-up existing companies, the productivity and competitiveness of European companies shall be leverage. Furthermore, market entry barriers for new robotic innovations are expected to be reduced through educating both healthcare professionals and patients and building trust.