STARS Project Call “Stress reduction of patients – hospital surgical interventions”

STARS Project Call “Stress reduction of patients – hospital surgical interventions”
Funding news

Five leading European hospitals challenge the European industry to design and develop a resilient support tool to be applied in the field of patients planned for surgery, with the aim of reducing stress during the entire care path.

The available budget for the development of this innovative solution is 3.26 million Euro (including VAT) for the industry.

Publication: February 1st 2019

More information here 

The Project

A consortium of five leading European hospitals uses the European Commission’s Pre-commercial Procurement (PCP) contractual scheme to challenge and stimulate European industry 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.

The available budget for the development of this new solution is 3.26 million euro (including VAT).

The Horizon 2020 project named “Empowering Patients by Professional Stress Avoidance and Recovery Services” (short form: STARS) started in January 2017, the project duration will be 60 months.

STARS challenges the industry to develop new personalised eHealth solutions in order to reduce stress related to healthcare procedures (see amount of stress experienced for planned surgery in figure 1). 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. 

Figure 1: Stress experienced along patient’s journey in case of planned surgery. (Courtesy of Ignacio Muñoz Carvajal MD, PhD, Reina Sofia University Hospital, Spain)

The eHealth solution will target the reduction of healthcare related stress as early as in the preclinical phase, proceeding through hospitalization until the end of the aftercare period (see figure 2). The solutions will have to combine the experience of caregivers with the empowerment of the patients to actively influence the process by expressing their state of mind and needs.

Figure 2: Required functionalities for STARS

How to get involved

What is the timeline of the STARS project?
The project started on January 1st 2017 and will last for four years. In the first 18 months of the project the tender specifications and contractual arrangements will be elaborated and eventually ‘fine-tuned’ based on the technology maturity and state-of-the-art evidences emerged during the dialogue with industry in the Open Market Consultation. 

 Important dates
November 2017: Publication of prior information notice 
January 2018: Open Market Consultations 
February 1st 2019: Publication of tender

 We will put the tender on the EU website ‘TED’.

 What is the Open Market Consultation and does the industry have to disclose their technology?
As part of the preparation for an innovation driven procurement action, the market consultation involves the proactive analysis of technology offer and provide a pre-information to the market in order to give a congruous time for the preparation of fit-for-purpose proposals. The STARS market consultation is aimed to these following goals:
• find out whether technologies are commercially available and acquire information about the advantage and disadvantages and the level of coverage of the desired functionalities, in order to confirm the assumption for PCP.
• enable and increase the opportunities for industry to form fit-for-purpose consortia.
• identify market risks potentially able to endanger business goals and supplier performance;

The market consultation sessions are conceived and organized with due regard to the principles of openness, transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment, in line with European procurement law.
Special attention must be paid to the possibility that such consultations could lead to situations that favour the companies involved, thus distorting competition. During and for the purpose of an early market consultation processes, legal assurances is put in place that suppliers’ intellectual property rights (IPRs), communicated in written form, will be protected. The market consultation will be conducted in the form of open and oral consultations (bilateral, interactive and open workshops). A written contribution (e.g., in the form of a questionnaire aimed to collect market information on innovative and commercialized solution ) could be provided by the participants, to form the basis for more in-depth analysis and assure the confidentiality on the information and solutions described.

If we share our current technology development with the STARS consortium, will this remain confidential?
Yes. We will not share confidential information regarding your technology with any competitors or other outside parties, if provided in written form.

In addition, the STARS team will do everything in their power to be fully transparent in sharing details about the procurement scope and objectives with all interested parties. Therefore, all interested parties will possess the equal amount of knowledge to best understand the innovation challenge and fruitfully participate to the early market engagement activities. A “Procurement Prospectus” will also be published onto the project website: this document will specifically state the objectives that will be pursued through the procurement, the solution desired and the related functional and performance requirements.

We are an innovation driven company, why should we join STARS?
You will have the opportunity to work with highly motivated and experienced professionals from European University Medical Centres and Hospitals, composing a cross-border buyers’ group. We can advise you regarding the research and development and help to innovate.
Your innovative solution will be more likely to be accepted in the medical community than if you would try to create the solution by yourself. Your prototypes will be submitted to test in extensive and  bench testing and field tests in human volunteers and patients at much reduced cost.

Are hospitals are willing to pay for stress reduction? What is the business case?
Although we are working on the business case, we know that there is a growing trend for insurances not to pay for costly complications that are seen to be the result of sub-optimal care. If stress reduction can reduce hospital stay and prevent costly or readmissions from home to the hospital (in recently discharged patients), the business case is obvious: one day in hospital is more costly than the total cost of stress reduction.

What about competition? Do we always have at least one competitor within this project?
Yes. In PCP the development of the novelty solution follows a funnel-shaped competitive model. This means that several companies may enter Phase 1 to develop and propose a solution design.
Phase 2 is intended for prototype development. In Phase 3 a pre-market prototype must be developed by industry, which will be tested in our hospitals.  

We still need to define the minimum number of competitors in each phase and how to divide the net max budget of 2.7 million euros, which will be paid to the industry.  In the published documents all details are explained.


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