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Living Well With Anne

Living well with Anne – Virtual support for forgetfulness

People can lose control over their own lives, their dignity and their connection to the world around them as a result of forgetfulness due to old age, dementia, acquired brain injury or a mental disability. Anne, a virtual assistant, can offer a solution to this specific target group, their family carers and professional carers.

Within the project Living well with Anne, international partners have investigated how Anne can support people with forgetfulness, mental limitations and incipient dementia. Anne is an avatar who speaks, listens, executes commands and makes stable video connections. You don’t need to know anything about computers, just talk or tap on the screen. Anne pays 24/7 attention to safety and health, collecting and analysing telemetric data in a save and protected way. And she entertains people with games, radio, the news and their personal photos and videos. She reminds people all day long of their appointments, activities, medication, food and drink. In doing so, she takes away uncertainty and fear of losing control. Not only for the ones using her, but also for the family carers.

The consortium with partners from the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, was funded by the AAL Joint Programme, a programme co-financed by Horizon2020 with the aims to create better quality of life for older people and to strengthen industrial opportunities in the field of healthy ageing technology and innovation.

Role of Windesheim UAS in the consortium

Many people see eHealth as a promising development, yet few IT innovations are sustainably embedded in healthcare practice. The professorship IT Innovations in Healthcare at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences bridges this gap by conducting multidisciplinary research combining data from the fields of care, technology and business. Practice-based research of the professorship results in applicable knowledge and useful tools that support healthcare providers in deploying eHealth, or handy tools used by entrepreneurs. During this project in particular, there were two ways the professorship IT Innovations in Healthcare  contributed: The team researched the acceptance and quality of life impact of the platform on the target group of seniors and paid special attention to the self-management and autonomy of individual clients and the reduction of the burden to the informal caregiver. Researchers of Windesheim used both technology acceptance modelling (TAM) and an appropriate quality of life instrument such as the IPA (Impact or Participation and Autonomy) thus combining quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Ecosystem approach

In addition to the research outcomes, the consortium put knowledge into practice by bringing together relevant stakeholders. First of all the project brought together organisations from the professional field with researchers from universities. The professional field, who used Anne as an eHealth tool, needed more practice-based evidence, which would support the claim that the system would promote more self-sustainability, thus reducing healthcare spending while promoting a better quality of life. Secondly the project connected different European partners regarding a societal challenge we are all facing: an ageing population and rising healthcare costs. Within the project partners could combine forces and share knowledge, but still take into account the needs of individual target groups per country. The Italian variant of Anne for instance contains an application for the Our Father. In short, collaborating on global challenges with an eye for local differences.

From research outcomes to education

eHealth is an innovative tool which has a major impact on the healthcare sector. Research of the professorship focuses on questions such as: What changes are brought about by ICT innovations in healthcare practice? What questions does this raise for healthcare providers and patients? How can healthcare providers be better equipped to deal with this? It is important that the next generation of healthcare providers are already familiar with these kind of questions. Hence one of the graduation profiles of the Windesheim Bachelor of Nursing focuses on innovation and technological developments. The professorship IT Innovations in Healthcare offers a knowledge base for keeping the curriculum of this profile up to date.

Further collaboration

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences is looking for European collaboration on a wide range of topics, such as eHealth, energy transition, circular economy, digitalisation, education, urban innovation, human movement and sport, youth care, dementia, supply chain, journalism, polymer engineering, lifelong learning, family businesses, social entrepreneurship and mental health care. A full overview of their professorships can be found in this brochure: Applied Research at Windesheim

Windesheim Foto Living Well With Anne
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