Zana announces partnership with Maastricht UMC+ for AI-driven telemonitoring with Vocal Biomarkers in COPD and Asthma

Wed, 16 Nov 2022
The innovation project with Maastricht University Medical Center+ intends the clinical development of vocal biomarker for dyspnea (shortness of breath).

The innovation project with Maastricht University Medical Center+ intends the clinical development of vocal biomarker for dyspnea (shortness of breath).

KARLSRUHE, BW, GERMANY, May 4, 2022 / -- Maastricht University Medical Center+ (MUMC) and Zana Technologies GmbH (Zana), a German-based provider of Conversation AI-enabled chatbot and voice assistants, today announced the start of their collaboration project “Telemonitoring Asthma and COPD with AI-driven voICe AnalysiS” (TACTICAS). It aims to validate patient-facing solution for health monitoring and identify vocal biomarkers for dyspnea. These biomarkers would help physicians to detect disease progression remotely and treat their COPD/Asthma patients on time.

In this collaboration, Zana provides a patient companion mobile app, utilizing its proprietary Healthcare Conversational AI platform. The in-app companion assists the patient daily to track symptoms and vital signs, as well as to capture their voice through dedicated speech tasks combined with appropriate physical exercise.

“For Zana, this collaboration marks an excellent opportunity to expand its technology in the domain of respiratory diseases and vocal biomarkers ” – said Dr.-Ing. Julia Hoxha, CEO of Zana, who has been personally committed to the conception and execution of this project. “We have been working very closely with the MUMC+ team to shape the patient app and train its voice assistant to fit the patient group, which includes both young and elderly patients. We strongly believe that this technology has impactful implications in clinical research and practice. We are eager to exploit this opportunity together with the medical center”.

The collected voice recordings and patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) will be analyzed by the consortium, which also includes as partners the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK). The goal is to establish a relevant relationship between vocal characteristics and shortness of breath (dyspnea) in COPD and Asthma patients.

MUMC+ will conduct the clinical study with the objective to validate the feasibility of such AI-based telemonitoring solution and the identified vocal biomarkers. “COPD and Asthma are conditions of the respiratory system, which impacts the human voice, too. We anticipate that through new AI-driven technology, we are able to find vocal patterns that indicate the grade of dyspnea and possible exacerbations (acute disease worsening),” said Dr. Sami Simons, Pulmonologist at MUMC+, who is heading the TACTICAS study. “Complementary to traditional tests, we nowadays need innovative digital solutions to continuously assess patient health remotely and detect their disease deterioration in time, so that we can reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.” Dr. Simons informs that his research team at MUMC+ has now started patient recruitment for the study.

This strategic collaboration, bringing together four interdisciplinary organizations as the medical center, innovative technology provider Zana, and two research institutes, aims to provide alternative, patient-centric and highly scalable tools for intelligent monitoring of patients´ health in respiratory diseases.