The eHealth Center is taking part in the European project RELIEF on pain self-management

Woman, pain
After five years of work, the project's final conference will be held on 17 March

Two researchers affiliated with the eHealth Center, Eullia Hernndez, professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya's Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and a researcher with the PSiNET group, and Manuel Armayones, a researcher at the eHealth Center's Behavior Design Lab, have taken part in the European project RELIEF, performed as a pre-commercial procurement (PCP), to find e-health solutions for the self-management of chronic pain. Started in 2016, the project has been coordinated by JAGGAER and funded by the Horizon 2020 programme.

Through the eHealth Center, the UOC has been a member of the project consortium, jointly with GIP Resah, Servicio Andaluz de Salud and Uppsala Lns Landsting. JAGGAER's role has been to lead the activities, focused primarily on identifying the lessons learned from the PCP process; it has also taken care of the project's communication-related aspects.

Now, after five years of work, JAGGAER is organizing the final RELIEF conference, which will be held online on 17 March and presented by Orestis Kalliantzidis from the European Commission's Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect). At the conference, the project's director, Ana Muiz Alonso, will give an overview of the project's execution and results on behalf of JAGGAER. She will be followed by the other consortium members, who will summarize the main conclusions of the field trials performed in Spain, France and Sweden to analyse the solutions' implementation. In addition, the two companies that have been selected, Gnomon Informatics SA and Tech4Care, will present the solutions that have been developed during the project, together with their marketing plans and objectives.

At the end of the event, all of the speakers will discuss good practices and lessons learned from the PCP project RELIEF at a round table. This will no doubt be of interest for other PCP projects.

E-health solutions for chronic pain

According to the European Commission's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), it is estimated that chronic pain affects more than 20% of adults around the world, including 100 million Europeans. "Living with chronic pain has a negative impact on a person's quality of life and leads to stress and other symptoms. It has been a privilege for JAGGAER to have helped find solutions for this huge social challenge," said Muiz.

Chronic pain also has a very significant direct cost for health systems and an even higher indirect cost for society as a whole, particularly in the form of lost productivity. The Horizon 2020 Programme estimated that the total cost was in excess of 440 billion euros, one-ninth of which was borne by society in general.

Ineffective, inappropriate pain management and treatment generates repeat appointments with primary care physicians and referrals to specialists. More than half of the patients with acute or chronic pain do not receive proper treatment, even though effective results have been confirmed for the treatment options that are currently available.

It is generally accepted that e-health solutions can achieve greater comparability between systems, patients and protocols in the pursuit of more effective and more efficient procedures.

All of the information about the RELIEF project can be found here.