Welcome to the newsletter nº3 of RELIEF project!

We are a PCP project aimed to develop digital solutions for improving the self-management in chronic pain patients through technology. Since February of 2016, we are working for launching and managing a tender for developing new products that empower the patient and improve their quality of life.

We are close to the end of the project and we would like to share with you our progress and activities done in the last months. By reading us, you will learn how the field-testing of PCP Phase 3 has been carried out. Besides, we provide advance information on the two solutions developed in the project, whose functionalities, benefits and outcomes will be presented in the final RELIEF conference. Details of this event are also explained in this number. Finally, we have collected information about how other friend projects are progressing.

Enjoy your reading!

JAGGAER. Project Coordinator


The RELIEF project is approaching the end of its 3rd phase – the field testing. During this phase, the two ICT solutions that were developed in Phase 1 and 2 of the PCP process are being tested in clinical practice.

The 3rd phase started in April 2019 and it lasts longer than expected. It had some delays due to administrative problems in France with the ethical committee. Besides, the phase was especially impacted by the COVID-19 related restrictions. That is why the original deadline was postponed and the field testing finished at the end of January 2021.

The 3rd phase was developed in the sites of the three procurers. The participating pain clinics are the following:

       France: Hôpitaux Universitaires Saint-Louis Lariboisière Ferdinand-Widal, Paris
       Spain: Reina Sofía University hospital, Cordoba
       Sweden: Uppsala University hospital, Uppsala

Some preparatory activities were needed before starting the field-testing. First, a prototype local adaptation of each prototype to the correspondent pilot site was carried out from April to May 2019. Then, a local pilot test with a reduced number of patients before the field testing started, was developed with the aim to ensure that the solutions were working in accordance with the expectations.

The Field Testing started in July 2019. The goal was to include a minimum of 120 patients, 40 patients involved in each region concurrently.

Patients with chronic pain scheduled for their first visit at the pain clinic were included in the study. At each study site 20 patients (60 patients in total) should be randomized to one of two ICT solutions and 20 patients at each site (60 in total) should be randomized as controls. During the inclusion meetings, patients were given information about the RELIEF project in general as well as about the conduct of the field testing. They were asked to fill in questionnaires related to pain management and patients selected to use the solutions were shown how to do so.

The evaluation period lasts for about 3 months. During this time, patients with ICT solutions were contacted by the field testing coordinators in order to ensure a good progress. After the 3 months period, all patients were asked to fill in the same questionnaires about pain management in order to conclude their participation to the study. Patients using ICT solutions were asked to answer additional questionnaires related to the use and the functionalities of the solutions. After some complications with patient recruitment due to COVID-19, it was decided that 3 patients per solution will also answer to an in-dept interview in order to collect sufficient data.

The recruitment of patients stopped at the end of October 2020 in all 3 sites even though the objective of 120 patients was not reached. In this way, all patients finished the clinical study by the end of January 2021 which leave the RELIEF Consortium enough time to analyse the results.
102 patients were recruited lin the field testing and 99 of them will successfully complete.

Field testing final data

The Consortium partners are currently compiling and analysing all the collected data. The results will be presented at the RELIEF Final Conference on the 17th of March 2021.

After our experience with the field testing and thanks to the feedback collected from patients, we can already present some lessons learnt:

  • The involvement of the medical stuff from the pain unit is essential. The patient needs to see the purpose in using the solution, therefore they need to see that the doctor pays attention to it.
  • The involvement of the medical stuff from the pain unit is essential. The patient needs to see the purpose in using the solution, therefore they need to see that the doctor pays attention to it.
  • If a technical problem is detected, it needs to be repaired quickly. If the same problem persists for too long, the patient will be demotivated to use the solutions.
  • The use of ICT solutions in not adapted for all patients. First of all, the patient needs to know how to use the material such as smartphone, smartwatch or virtual reality headset. But also, the patient must be willing to use it regularly as an important part of the treatment.

The solutions developed in the project address the common challenge shared by all procurers in the buyers group: How could we improve self-management, empowerment and engagement in treatment, in chronic pain patients treated at Pain Units. With this focus, the technologies had to enable patients to self-manage, as well as engaging and empowering them to increase their ability to manage their symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and life-style changes.

Here we are presenting you an overview of the two solutions developed based on that challenge and that have been tested in real conditions. The buyers group is currently analyzing the conclusions of the data collected during the field-testing carried out in the last months. This analysis will be presented in the RELIEF Final Conference on the 17th of March. It will allow to evaluate the level of the accomplishment of the challenge and other requirements listed in the tender.

Two solutions were developed in the project: EPIONE by Gnomon Informatics S.A. and VR-RELIEF by Tech4Care.

    • EPIONE
    • It is presented as a full pain management solution that allows patients:
    • › Manage their Chronic Pain
    • › Manage their Health data
    • › Access to their treatment plans
    • › Communicate with Doctors
    • › Participate in support communities
    • › Get education about chronic pain
    • › Book medical appointments
    • › Track their lifestyle with wearables
EPIONE devices
EPIONE devices

On the one hand, EPIONE contributes to the streamlining self-management. It was designed to cover a wide range of treatment needs from medication management to exercise plans and nutritional habits. It has an easy to use digital health agenda and smart notifications. The solution includes a smart dialogue that helps to increase the medication adherence. Besides, patients can set personal goals. The solution proposes a gamified education environment for better inform patients. Users can get in touch with other patients in a safe and trusted social media network.

On the other hand, the solution contributes to a better Chronic Pain Assessment. It is based on updated chronic pain science and guidelines of the International Association for the study of Pain (IASP). Besides, patients can automatically populate medical history data, connecting to healthcare systems existing EHRs.

The solution is developed by Gnomon Informatics, S.A.

More information about EPIONE: https://epione-app.com/

    • VR-RELIEF is a mHealth solution which aims to improve self-management, empowerment and engagement in treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain. The patient uses a mobile app and wearable devices, integrated with a virtual coach based on artificial intelligence (AI) proprietary algorithms which runs a proactive monitoring. This solution can be potentially integrated with an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) system.
    • This modular solution is composed by:
    • 1) A HARDWARE PLATFORM: a smartphone, optionally integrated with a compatible smartwatch and a VR-Headset.
    • 2) A MOBILE APP including features such as a Virtual Coach (DR. Relief), able to collect patients’ information directly from them, the clinicians and the integrated hardware (e.g. data from the smartwatch/wrist and the VR-Headset) and providing personalized reminders and feedbacks to enhance patients adherence to the treatment and monitoring the results. The App includes also a set of training contents and social community tools for patients’ training and self-management.
    • 3) A PLATFORM FOR CLINICIANS to manage and profile the patients according to their clinical characteristics: data analysis allows the profiling of the patients, which will be the first step for the provision of (intelligent) personalized care.
    • 4) A library of VR applications for pain treatment, relaxation and rehabilitation, which can be used via a portable VR-headset.
    • The solution is developed in a partnership with Tech4Care, miThings AB and Ulster University. 
VR-RELIEF devices
VR-RELIEF devices

See a video explaining briefly the solution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrGzRjh9EoU

More information about VR-RELIEF: https://www.vr-relief.com/en/


Save the date on your agenda! Wednesday 17th of March from 10:00 to 12:30 CET the RELIEF consortium will present the results of the project in a virtual event. We will count on the presence of Orestis Kalliantzidis from the Unit H.3 eHealth, Well-being, and Ageing of the DG CONNECT. He will give an overview about the PCP instrument. Contractors will present the two solutions developed in the RELIEF project and explain how they are planning to commercialize them. Our buyer group will share results and conclusions from the field-testing carried out in the three countries (Spain, France and Sweden). The event will end with a roundtable in which procurers and contractors will discuss good practices and lessons learnt from the PCP process based on their experience in the RELIEF project.

The program will be available in the coming weeks.
Registrations here
More information here


eCARE - Digital solutions supporting continuum of care for frailty prevention in old adults

eCare is a PCP project aimed to encourage elderly people to live independently, by detecting and preventing loneliness and isolation. The consortium has conducted the Open Market Consultation (OMC) activities from October to December 2020. They were an excellent opportunity to hear from both ICT companies and health and social organizations regarding the eCare challenge.
Read here about main facts, figures and conclusions extracted.

Health Status Monitor

HSMonitor – ICT-enabled monitoring to improve health status and optimise hypertension care

HSMonitor is a PCP project that aims to procure innovative monitoring solutions to improve the health status of citizens and patients and optimise hypertension care in Europe. Five healthcare providers from four countries (Turkey, Italy, Croatia and Sweden) are engaged in the procurement, catering to a combined population of 96 million, of which 31 million already have hypertension. The envisaged solutions should cover areas such as early detection and prevention, healthier lifestyle and nutrition, treatment adherence, training and education. The HSMonitor PCP project launched a Call for Tenders in the period 17 August - 13 November 2020. The evaluation of the tenders submitted to the call is in its final stage. Up to 7 different solution ideas for tackling hypertension management of citizens and patients will be selected.

STARS-PCP - Patient Empowerment by Stress Avoidance and Recovery Services

The STARS project started in January 2017 with totally 11 partners of these 5 buyers. STARS challenges the industry to develop new personalised eHealth solutions in order to reduce stress related to healthcare procedures. Reduction of the stress, experienced by patients, will lower the harmful side effects of sedating drugs, shorten hospital stay, shorten recovery time and relieve carers and related persons from continuous assistance.
The objective of the project is to design, develop and test a resilient support tool, to be applied in the field of patients, planned for surgery, with the aim of reducing stress and anxiety as well as improving the health condition of the patient during the complete care path.
Now the phase 2 with four suppliers is finishing and we are looking to start phase 3 soon.

Stars PCP

WellCo - Wellbeing and Health Virtual Coach

WellCo (H2020-SC1-PM15-2017: 769765) is a project that leverages AI to provide users with personalised advice, guidance and follow-up for the adoption of healthier behaviour choices that help them to maintain or improve their physical cognitive, mental and social well-being for as long as possible.
WellCo started the 1st of December 2017 so currently the project is arriving to its end. After the co-design phase and the forthcoming stages of implementation and validation of the three iterative prototypes envisaged in the project, WellCo is currently in the stage of analysis of results. This stage aims at processing all the information and data derived from the project with the purpose of assessing the outcomes of the project and their impact.


If you want to find out more about the RELIEF project, please visit our website at http://relief-chronicpain.eu

Join the conversation on the RELIEF twitter

© 2021 Jaggaer

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement no 689476.

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