Technology to empower the patient and manage stress related to healthcare procedures

Technology to empower the patient and manage stress related to healthcare procedures 1080 447 Mireia Córcoles
  • The European project STARS-PCP, in which I3PT participates, begins the validation phase of the two finalist solutions that will help patients who have to undergo an operation

The vast majority of people who have to undergo one surgery experiences a situation of stress and anxiety; which begins with the preoperative process, increases exponentially at the time of admission, and is maintained in the days following surgery. Evidence shows that this stress has detrimental effects on the patient, such as an increase in mortality, complications during admission, or an increased risk of re-hospitalization, among others.

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

Faced with this situation, five leading hospital institutions in Europe, including the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute (I3PT), have consorted to lead a project that, within a framework of public pre-commercial procurement, find different solutions that empower patients through professional stress prevention and recovery services.

Specifically, the project called “Empowering Patients by Professional Stress Avoidance and Recovery Service”('STARS)challenge European industry to design, develop and test a resilient support tool to help patients and their families or caregivers manage the stress and anxiety caused by surgery, from the moment that the operation is planned until medical discharge is received.

“With this project we highlight the importance we give to the emotional sphere of patients, which has a substantial influence on the results of the operation and its evolution ”, explains Andrea Vallejo, anesthetist and principal investigator of the I3PT project.

This stress management will allow reduce the side effects of sedating drugs , will shorten hospitalization and the recovery time, benefits that also translate into savings in physical and human resources of hospitals.

The STARS project, which began in 2017 thanks to the European Commission's Horizon 2020 call, has a budget of 3,26 million euros. At the current stage of the project, the partners have started to validate two prototypes presented by the two selected companies that, through one mobile application, the patient's stress is measured and it gives tools so he/she can manage it.

Examples of these tools are information on surgery and hospitalization, self-measurement guides, resources for creating a more relaxed hospital environment through the regulation of the lights of the hospital room, musical or reading proposals, or breathing techniques. Likewise, these apps also allow relatives to follow the evolution of the operation.

To validate these two proposals, the project partners have selected 24 patients to test the applications. Companies will incorporate their opinions and those of medical teams, because finally the solutions can be commercialized so that they can be used extensively.

"Technology has helped us manage this very important and abandoned area and will give us tools that will enable the patient to be empowered, giving him an active role so that he is informed and can make decisions independently ”, concludes Dr. Vallejo.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No727585.

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