#myFIWAREstory – FICHe: fulfilling the Future Internet eHealth Challenge

 Accelerator Programme, Blog, eHealth, interviews, myFIWAREstory  Comments Off on #myFIWAREstory – FICHe: fulfilling the Future Internet eHealth Challenge
Sep 132016

Experiencing a healthcare process is one of the most universal human life events. That is true for almost every person and among any community in the world.
With a well-established tradition around the development of a universal health coverage, Europe comprises different countries that have been implementing that broad concept in several ways, usually with some form of government action aimed at extending the access to healthcare as widely as possible, while setting minimum standards and regulations about privacy of the data resulting from sanitary procedures.

Now, the digital transformation that is seizing the opportunities within and through all the different European industries, is also transforming the health business and revolutionize the aforementioned “healthcare experience”, with the aim to improve the citizens’ well-being by different means: the ICT technologies appear as the most logical instrument at hand in order to make life-saving information easily available, to measure and raise the quality and accessibility of the health services and to make the most innovative tools more effective, more user-friendly and widely accepted.

img_0006That would be the disruptive vision around eHealth advancement. A conception that should coexist with a more traditional sight and with the consistent need to be extremely thorough whenever dealing with sensible personal data. The obligation to implement the ICT advancements following national and continental privacy laws emphasizes the need for a better cyber-security as an integral part for the present and future of the sector.

Within this context, the aim of the Future Internet CHallenge eHealth, the FICHe accelerator, has been to challenge top European startups to create the new digital applications and comprehensive solutions that eHealth market is demanding.
To achieve that goal, FICHe has been offering training, technical and financial support and a real field experience, working with European SMEs and start-ups and pushing them to develop innovative applications and business models for the global eHealth market, building the solutions upon the FIWARE technology. During the recently ended two-year program, FICHe accelerator boosted 20 innovative eHealth startups into the European market.

“FICHe consortium has accelerated the overall process, planning and fostering the visibility of both products and companies”, according with Satu Väinämö, FICHe Project Coordinator. The added value that FIWARE provides comes from the technology but also from the active community that supports and maintains it. As Jordina Arcal, from FICHe finalist HealthApp puts it: "it was a real incubation process…everyone helping each other."

img_0073With the support of FICHe, the 20 finalists SMEs and startups created 150 new jobs, got their first customers, established new partnerships and raised extra public and private funding, that was added to the FICHe program seed funding, which allowed the startups to set off the ground.
For a startup aiming to get access to the international markets, testing and validating its solution in a living lab is a must. That has been the specific and differential final step that has been key to complete the acceleration process under the FICHe mentorship.

At this moment the acceleration process has finished, but the consortium partners – University of Oulu, Business Oulu, TIC BioMed, FFIS de la region de Murcia, TNO,  Amsterdam Economic Board, Stichting zorgInc., Dutch eHealth Fund Management BV and Stichting– will continue the mentorship, the management of the the Living Labs and the creation of a systematic process that will keep supporting the SMEs and startups, unfolding their business potential beyond the borders of their countries and achieving funding and clients in Europe and beyond.

It’s now time to share the story of FICHe, review the acceleration process with the startups and get a glimpse of their experience and of the solutions that they have developed, which are now entering or are already into of a global growing market.
Also, let’s meet the passionate entrepreneurs and developers and ask them why they have choose eHealth, what does the value proposition of FIWARE for this vertical comprises and which is the reason why four –out of fifteen– companies selected to be part of the FIWARE VIP Programme are working within the eHealth sector.

This is our story, which is yours?

From AlzhUp to Zebra: Telemedicine is Everywhere in 2016

 Accelerator Programme, Blog, eHealth, Success Story  Comments Off on From AlzhUp to Zebra: Telemedicine is Everywhere in 2016
Jan 152016
The doctor's desk

At the end of the day, our most important asset is our health. And as city populations grow around the world, key resources that enable us to manage and protect our health become increasingly scarce.

Already, doctor and nurse shortages around the globe impact waiting times and attendance at hospital emergency departments.

We are also living longer, but often with the need to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, heart and lung disease risks, HIV, or mental health.

As smart infrastructure evolves, we are offered a great tool in being able to better harness technologies to better manage our own health, communicate with health professionals, and proactively ward off an emergency situation.

Ehealth is on the rise. And one of the key streams in ehealth is telemedicine.

Telemedicine refers to technologies and applications that enable patients to better manage their own health and to communicate with health professionals at key times of need. Health news site, HealthcareIT News, reported last year that the telemedicine industry is expected to be worth more than $34 billion by 2020, meaning more patients around the world will be able to access these technologies.

Already in the UK, recent studies show 67% of patients would prefer to manage chronic health conditions through remote patient monitoring, according to the HIT Consultant website.
Now there are signs that telemedicine is getting a boost across Europe, as the FI-C3 accelerator’s portfolio of startups begins to receive their funding and support.

“Ehealth applications were the majority in both FI-C3 Open Call 1 and Open Call 2,” said Ciro Acedo Boria, Head of the FI-C3 Accelerator. “Among ehealth startups, those addressing Telemedicine were also the majority,” he added.

This includes Alzhup and Zebra, both destined to make a huge impact in improving lives and reducing health risks.


AlzhUp is a mobile application designed for patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It aims to delay the onset of cognitive impairment, and to help in active ageing. “We do not try to find a cure, since we do not think this is the current problem,” said Rafael Espinosa de los Monteros, Founder of AlzhUp. “The real problem is how to live with dementia, and how to increase the quality of life of patients, caregivers, families and also society.”

AlzhUp includes a library of scientifically validated therapies, a personal bank of memories for patients to store and use in their choice of therapies, support for the active participation of caregivers and family, and communication tools for the patients health care professionals.

When beginning to build AlzhUp, Espinosa de los Monteros turned to FIWARE for support:
“When we were about to start developing AlzhUp after carefully studying our business model, we heard about FIWARE technology and started checking it to understand what it could offer to us. For a young start-up with practically no budget, we saw FIWARE could be a technology that could not only save us money and headaches, but also give us access to a consortium that provided investment as well as guidance and contacts in a difficult field like e-health. That was of pretty high interest for us.”

AlzhUp makes use of several FIWARE Generic Enablers, says Espinosa de los Monteros:
“As a health project, at AlzhUp we are using several Generic Enablers from FIWARE. This includes Keyrock, because of the security capabilities for personal health data and because it has a clear approach to categorizing organizations (which is how we map the patient’s support network: the central member with Alzheimer’s and the rest of the “organization”, family and healthcare professionals in this case, around this figure with different roles). For our Personal Bank of Memories service, we use Object Storage, which has saved us a lot of problems.” Rafael says that in future, AlzhUp is hoping to make use of Cosmos for using big data analytics alongside the therapy library, and Kurento for a conference-style feature in their app.


The Zebra Academy focuses on creating a telemedicine solution for stroke healthcare. Speed and competence in managing a stroke, are the two key factors that impact on the prognosis of stroke patients. The earlier the stroke is detected and treated, the greater likelihood the patient can maintain independence and survival.

Stroke is the leading cause worldwide of acquired disability, the second largest cause of dementia worldwide and in the top cause of death globally. In a country like Belgium alone, healthcare costs associated with stroke patients total more than €300 million.

Other FIWARE Initiatives focusing on Telemedicine: MentalCheck

While FI-C3 has released its portfolio of startups which demonstrates the growth in both ehealth and telemedicine solutions, other FIWARE-collaborating accelerators have also funded telemedicine startups.

FINODEX, for example, is supporting the app MentalCheck, which provides remote patient monitoring and treatment for people managing their mental health. Designed using evidence-based research on emotional health states, MentalCheck allows psychological patients to complete the industry standard ecological mental health when first arriving for their mental health care support services, and means that when the consultation occurs, the psychologist has a thorough and up to date understanding of the patient’s emotional wellbeing.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper site, El Mundo, MentalCheck Co-founder at Bipsin and neuroscientist Dr Mercedes Martínez Jauand said that at the moment, in 98% of cases health care professionals use a pen and paper to conduct these tests. Her hope is that technology can replace that, as well as provide a more objective measuring system.

"In consultations, it is common to find patients resistant to change. And because of their low mood, they are not able to perceive improvements. If we have an objective tool that gives us data from week one to week ten, then we can show that to the patient and work through those expectations, pointing out that indeed there has been positive change. There are some severe and depressive disorders that present with memory problems, so the MentalCheck evaluation is carried out in context and real time. It is going to be very helpful both in terms of research and for clinical use,” Dr Jauand told El Mundo.

New Challenges Emerging for Telemedicine

In an article in the noted health journal, HealthData Management, the need for telemedicine solutions to both gather personal data and combine it with evidence-based research will be essential to enhance clinical effectiveness and patient management.

Espinosa de los Monteros agrees, pointing out one of the key challenges that face telemedicine app providers is the constant iteration needed to test clinical evidence and build-in as new features or enhancements in their apps:“One of the biggest challenges we are having is not only technology, but how can we demonstrate that technology supports science. In other fields, technology is a support with clear use (X-rays, special machines, etc), but when we are talking about brain, there is always a component of uncertainty about how the use of technology itself provokes changes in the results,” he says.

“In our particular case, technology is a huge support to digitize therapies and create a specialized service for people with Alzheimer's disease unseen before, but we need to test every step we take. We have scientifically validated therapies on paper, now we need to re-validate them to check and prove that the use of technology is neutral, that it is a vehicle to offer a new service but it doesn't affect (in anyway) the results.”
FIWARE is excited to see all the FI-C3 portfolio of startups come on board. From A to Z, there are a whole new world of solutions emerging in fields like telemedicine.

Generic Enablers & eHealth Applications – The Shock Index

 Blog  Comments Off on Generic Enablers & eHealth Applications – The Shock Index
Dec 122014

The following post has been written by the FI-STAR Team at their  blog. We would like to thank their collaboration. If you want to learn more about FIWARE eHealth uses, please read this post in our blog.

Professor Christoph Thuemmler, FISTAR’s Medical Director, presented the session : FIWARE – open architecture and tools from the Future Internet PPP  at the IoT and Platforms for Connected Smart Objects at Horizon 2020 ICT 30 2015 KTN in London.

Generic Enablers - Building blocks

“FIWARE's goal is to advance the global competitiveness of the EU economy by introducing an innovative infrastructure for cost-effective creation and delivery of services, providing high QoS and security guarantees. FIWARE is designed to meet the demands of key market stakeholders across many different sectors, e.g., healthcare, telecommunications, and environmental services.

FIWARE unites major European industrial actors.  FIWARE is an open architecture and a reference implementation of a novel service infrastructure, building upon generic and reusable building blocks developed in earlier research projects.” These are aptly named Generic Enablers and Prof Thuemmler used the metaphor of lego bricks to explain that they are the building blocks of new applications, all of them being available in the FIWARE catalogue.

Orion Context Broker

Prof Thuemmler also demonstrated one of the new applications for the health sector  – the Shock Index which is an early warning service for those with heart conditions.  It connects the patient via their smartphone to the Hospital services who are monitoring them and who can activate the appropriate health service. This application uses the Orion Context Broker, which is available from the FIWARE catalogue. Do you want to see how it works? You can take a look at this video!


eHealth: apps and services for a better healthcare

 Open Calls  Comments Off on eHealth: apps and services for a better healthcare
Sep 252014

Men and women having undergone an operation can avoid some surveillance visits to the hospital by carrying an electronic device with them; doctors can remotely diagnose patients from little villages with no medical centre or can direct a surgical operation from a different city; nurses and clinicians can have an immediate access to a patient’s information thanks to a mobile device. How? The answer, of course, is technology and development.

The new wave of digitalization is also affecting hospitals and healthcare. A growing number of apps and digital services are letting doctors automate processes and make patients’ contact simpler and more direct. And although concerns may exist that this could originate security and accuracy problems, eHealth (and mHealth, the term used to refer to smartphone apps and services) could bring health care to places where it is now unreachable. It seems though that, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, higher-income countries still show more mHealth activity than lower-income countries do; which, on the other hand, seems quite normal, considering development levels and purchasing power. But one could say that, cost-effective as they are, eHealth services could be a good starting point for other development actions.

Countries such as Australia are already aware of this potential, as we can read in The Australian. A system has been implemented for “about 30,000 Australian Defence Force members” which consists on “an integrated primary care platform that contains information from personnel’s GP, dentist, physiotherapy and psychology services […] In future, X-rays and MRIs can be attached to each record or stored by the provider and accessed by the doctor”.  And it is, among other objectives, to help to implement these eHealth services in low- and middle-income countries that the WHO has also created the Global Observatory for eHealth, aiming to “monitor the development of eHealth worldwide, with an emphasis on individual countries”. eHealth seems to be transforming radically the way health care is conceived and how it will be seen in the (not-so-distant) future.

From FIWARE, we have also witnessed some of these eHealth applications already in use, as those promoted by FI-STAR. Among them, we can consider a tele-health network for Diabetes patients (Tromsø, Norway), a bar-coding for real time medicament supply chains (Leeds, UK), the virtualization of surgical environments and real time data monitoring (Munich, Germany) or an online cardiology service for people with heart failure (Bucharest, Romania), among others. Now, four of the accelerators of the FIWARE Accelerator Programme are accepting proposals on the eHealth domain. These are FI-ADOPT, FINODEX, FI-C3 and FICHe. Two of them have already opened their open calls, so proposals can be already submitted. Do you have the idea that could help thousands of people have access to a better healthcare system? Do not hesitate! Submit your proposal!

But we can all be sure that the examples mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. There is much to be learnt! Do you know any other case that deserves to be mentioned?