Research areas and methodologies

Founded in August 2022, theIntelligent Health Technology for Health and Wellbeinging lab (IHT lab) supports the development of innovative sustainable health services, also from an environmental point of view, based on innovative enabling technologies (eg, AI, big-data, IoT, robots). 

The main research areas of the laboratory cover:

  • the design and evaluation of innovative health services for the management of chronic diseases (eg, telemedicine for continuity of care)
  • the reorganization and automation of healthcare services and organizations
  • organicingglobal health engineering
  • the design, management and evaluation of sustainable medical devices, including for low-income countries
  • enabling technological platforms for services aimed at improving and managing the quality of life and well-being

Artificial intelligence, internet of things, and analysis of biomedical signals and images

The members of the laboratory have developed advanced expertise in analysis using artificial intelligence techniques (deep-learning and machine learninging), of biomedical images and biomedical signals acquired through wearable sensors, in real life conditions (i.e., not only in controlled conditions). 

These skills are currently applied to facilitate the resolution of several complex problems, including:

  • diagnosis and prognosis of rare diseases (cardiac, ophthalmological and oncological)
  • detection and management of mental stress
  • sleep and drowsiness monitoring
  • short-term prediction of critical events (eg, falls in the elderly, hypoglycemic events)
  • early detection and prediction of patient exacerbations with a focus on congestive heart failure (CHF) and hypertension
  • behavioral, cognitive and affective monitoring and assessment

Global health and global sustainable goals

The members of the laboratory are proactively involved in research projects aimed at the full achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on Goal number 3 (Ensure health and well-being for all at all ages) in low-income countries of sub-Saharan Africa. During the pandemic, Prof. Pecchia worked for the World Health Organization (WHO), as Innovation Manager for non-pharmacological technologies (AI, medical devices, PPE) for COVID-19 under the Blueprint programme.

These skills have been applied in the following areas:

  • medical technology design for resource-limited areas
  • regulatory science of medical devices and medical premises
  • ingclinical engineering in low-income countries

AI-powered medical device design, regulation, management, and evaluation

Laboratory members have extensive experience in the design and certification of medical devices and personal protective equipment. This experience, gained through collaborations with companies and regulatory bodies, is transmitted to students of three-year, specialist, master's and doctoral degrees, and starts from the peculiar ability to be able to combine three fundamental elements:

  1. A deep knowledge of regulatory sciences: including norms and standards (eg, ISO 14971, IEC60601-1/ISO 14971, ISO/IEC 17020), European regulations for medical devices (EU 2017/746), in vitro diagnostic medical devices (EU 2017/745) and personal protective equipment (EU 2016/425)
  2. Health Technology Management
  3. Methods and tools of Health Technology Assessment and of health economics to the planning itself (early-stage HTA, pre-market economic evaluations), in a logic of value-based healthcare.

Projects

The lab members are involved in some of the most significant European research and innovation projects in these fields with NGOs, WHO, companies and other universities.

Collaborations with other research centres

  1. World Health Organization, Infection Prevention and Control Unit, World Emergency Program, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. University of Warwick, UK
  3. Medtronic Iberica SA, Spain
  4. Center for Research and Technology HELLAS, Greece
  5. Foundation for Research and Technology HELLAS, Greece
  6. University of Warwick, UK
  7. Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies and Specialization, Italy
  8. Robotnik, Spain
  9. MYSPHERA, Spain
  10. TWI-Hellas Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia, Greece
  11. Phillips Electronics Nederland BV, The Nederland
  12. Medtronic, France
  13. IECISA Portugal – GFI Group, Portugal
  14. Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrech, The Nederland
  15. Hospital Clinico San Carlos – Madrid, Spain
  16. Charité Universitätmedizin Berlin, Germany
  17. Amiens UH, France
  18. Medical University of Lodz, Poland
  19. MINDS&SPARKS, Austria
  20. Legal, Regulatory – UDG Alliance, Switzerland
  21. University of Florence – MEICT LAB, Italy
  22. University of Zagreb, Croatia
  23. Panepistimio Ioanninon, Geeece
  24. Hellenic Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology – INBITH, Greece
  25. AORN Dei Colli - Monaldi Hospital, Rare and Genetic Cardiovascular Diseases Unit
  26. AOU University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
  27. AOU Frederick II of Naples

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