Skip to main content

Intelligent Environment for Diagnostics, Treatment and Prevention of Eating Disorders

Objective

SALUT will leverage advances in information and telecommunications technology to design, prototype and trial innovative tools and cost effective treatment strategies for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders.

Technology and scientific partners will jointly develop new therapeutic models combining web-based applications; emerging wireless telecommunications protocols; and cost effective therapeutic strategies being developed by scientific partners. The project will also exploit established industry standards to implement a networking infrastructure for a research and prevention network. This network will act to facilitate information exchanges between researchers, practitioners and the general public. It will also be a direct channel for the dissemination of project results.

SALUT takes a holistic approach in addressing uptake and innovation during all key phases of the prevention, diagnostic and treatment cycle. While the project targets only specific areas within each phase, we expect the tools and other project results to serve as building blocks for a new patient environment that exploits fully the benefits offered by new and emerging technologies.

The overriding objective for SALUT is to support a prevention and treatment environment where the patient is given a greater sense of comfort, flexibility, privacy, greater choice in establishing communications, recording progress, and making decisions.

Specifically, the project will:

Develop natural language question answering systems to give information about eating disorders.
Develop expert systems to improve the flexibility and availability of diagnostic tools and services.
Design new cost effective treatment strategies by using web based or emerging wireless and 3G protocols.
Deploy regional research and prevention portals to facilitate information flow between citizens and the medical and paramedical professions.

Objectives:
SALUT will leverage advances in information and telecommunications technology to design, prototype and trial innovative tools and cost effective strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. While the project targets only specific areas within each step, we expect the tools and other project results to serve as building blocks for a new patient environment that fully exploits the benefits offered by new and emerging technology.

To achieve this goal, the project will take an integrated approach, developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools to help patients monitor, observe and manage information about their feelings, thoughts and behaviour. The patient is lead progressively to change their habits and improve their lifestyle by working through a series of self-help modules. This development is driven by user requirements from current research by the University of Geneva on a "Self Help Guide" for outpatient treatment of bulimic patients
The project will extend this work to develop a general platform for the delivery of mental health services within a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework.

SALUT will also implement regional research and prevention network among the partner countries.
Medical and scientific partners will perform clinical validation of diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

SALUT results will be actively disseminated on a regional and European level.

SALUT takes a holistic approach in promoting uptake and innovation during all key steps of the prevention, diagnostic and treatment cycle. These tools are designed to support a more collaborative relationship between doctors and their patients.

Project results are designed to support the provision of mental health services online and could accelerate the development of an "e-Mental Health" service sector.

Work description:
Develop Internet Based systems to improve availability and flexibility of diagnostic tools and services for eating disorder:

The project will develop Internet-based diagnostic systems for the four major eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and Obesity. These tools will be developed as separate components and will target early stage detection, as well as interim diagnostics for detecting patient progress. They will provide treatment plans for both the patient and the professionals, whose help the patient is seeking. Existing knowledge and methods, which today is available from a few specialists, will be made available to many more people.

Qualitative success: will be measured by user response to ease of use and comfort as well as the volume of satisfied users. Quantitative performance will be based on measure such as time saved in terms of filling out diagnostic forms, the number diseases, and disease stages covered by the new tools, the ease of integrating the questionnaires into existing diagnostic practice, as well as the time saving in administration of patient information

Develop Internet Based Intelligent Natural Language Question-Answering System on Eating Disorders:
The question-answering system will answer queries from users in natural language and find the most suitable answers to each question, by matching the question against the data base of answers in a more intelligent way than ordinary Internet search engines. Questions will be produced by experts on eating disorders and will be a collection of common questions they receive.

Success will be measured by asking users to directly indicate if the answer was appropriate and helpful to them. Questions and answers will be anonymously logged, and the log files will be used to successively increase the quality of the answers which the system produces.

Develop web based and mobile tools to support the implementation of a more convenient, mobile and cost effective therapeutic environment for eating disorders:
SALUT will develop web based and mobile tools designed to help patients progressively achieve recommended behavioural and lifestyle changes. These tools will be based on a "Self Help Guide" that is part of a cost effective strategy under development by the University Hospital of Geneva. (Potential collaboration with Stanford University, Palo Alto California, USA) The tools will be developed either as web based or mobile components running on PDA (personal digital assistants) or 3G web devices. Patients can choose for example to keep dietary records on their smart phone, look up and follow specific recommendation on their home computer, and monitor progress on their PDA. These components can be run as a stand-alone application or as clients connect to a server (or home computing platform) to centralise and collect information. The project will, as needed, consult experts on graphical design, web design, and application interface design in order to develop fully interactive, and convivial interfaces. These tools will also be tested in together with online community tools to assess their potential for extending support group sessions to remote patients, and for making expensive post treatment following more economically feasible.

Success will be measured by feedback on ease of use, flexibility and performance, number of user request, the volume of extend services, and estimated cost benefits.

Promotes innovation through deployment of a research information network that facilitate collaboration, information exchange and discussion among medical professionals:
SALUT will implement a network of web portals dedicated to providing information, facilitate interaction, collaboration and exchange for medical professionals dealing with eating disorder. The network will consist of regional web portals in English, French and Spanish. The project will develop standard information structure and use policy to maintain

Milestones:
M1 External Review 1 (month 12): Requirements, specifications for tools,
regional web portals.
M2 External Review 2 (month 24): Awareness and prevention policy, start development of therapeutic and diagnostic tools.
M3 External Review 3 (month 30): Complete data collection, first version of tools, evaluation report, begin awareness actions.
M4 External Review 4 (month 39): Awareness and prevention report, final evaluation report.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

HOPITAL TIMONE
Address
Rue St Pierre 264
13385 Marseille
France

Participants (7)

CONECTA S.R.L.
Italy
Address
Via Nazionale 42/I
33010 Tavagnacco
CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Spain
Address
C/ Serrano 117
28006 Madrid
HOSPITAL 12 DE OCTUBRE
Spain
Address
Avenida Andalucia Km 5,400
28041 Madrid
HOSPITAL MALEVOZ
Switzerland
Address
Route De Morgins 10
1870 Monthey
NETUNION S.A.R.L.
Switzerland
Address
20 Av. Des Figuiers
1007 Lausanne
OEREBRO LAENS LANDSTING
Sweden
Address

701 16 Oerebro
UNIVERSITE DE GENEVE
Switzerland
Address
Rue Du General Dufour 24
1211 Geneve 4