Rescue services need to make quick decisions, and it is not uncommon for the stakes to be life or death. Artificial intelligence is now set to make rescue services in Germany fit for the future.
The aim is to provide emergency and rescue forces with more digital support for emergency medical care in the future by means of intelligent technologies. In the new AI Rescue research project, an interdisciplinary team of scientists led by the Björn Steiger Foundation is currently preparing a feasibility study using the example of the "Model Region Health Lausitz" on how AI-based data analysis can be used to make rescue work more effective and efficient. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).
The rescue service in Germany is facing major challenges: Rising deployment figures with limited personnel, increasing cost pressure, demographic change and inconsistent structures throughout Germany as well as changes in the requirement profile determine the picture. Although digitization has also found its way into the emergency services in Germany, this process is developing relatively slowly in comparison with the rest of Europe and at different rates across Germany. The potential of artificial intelligence is great, and the need for practical, AI-based systems that help prepare data-based decisions is high.
This is where the AI Rescue project comes in. Part of the feasibility study "AI-supported data analysis and simulation of rescue services" is the development of a simulation as a demonstrator for the use of artificial intelligence in rescue services using the example of the "Model Region Health Lausitz". Within the framework of the planned Lusatian Center for Artificial Intelligence (LZKI), scientists at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg under the direction of Prof. Dr. Armin Fügenschuh, Department of Engineering Mathematics and Numerics, are simulating a rescue chain from the control center to the ambulance to the emergency physician. The focus is on embedding artificial intelligence methods to predict the effects of operational, tactical and strategic decisions.
Each year, the Lausitz rescue control center alone receives around 120,000 emergency calls to 112 and 120,000 other calls. "Federal states and counties are under enormous pressure. Rescue vehicles must be on standby and appropriately equipped, emergency physicians must be available. With the help of our software, it will be possible to virtually map the rescue chain and test possible deployment scenarios. This is the only way that decision-makers from business, politics and the healthcare sector will be able to optimally plan how many rescue vehicles need to be available at which control centers, for example, so that those seeking help receive the best possible support at any time and in any place," says Prof. Fügenschuh.
In addition, the current political, legal and economic framework conditions will be analyzed. In this way, the project aims to identify concrete potential for improving mobility aspects of the rescue chain through AI. The results of the feasibility study will form the basis for recommendations for action to ensure the effective and innovative transfer of data into concrete instructions for action and to promote the acceptance and approval of automated systems in practice. This will not only significantly increase and improve the performance and reliability of existing processes and existing data infrastructures in the emergency services, but should also open up new functionalities and applications and increase the quality of care. The findings will also help identify promising application scenarios and support industry, policy makers and the healthcare sector in making project decisions for the use of AI in emergency medical services in the future.
Effective cooperation – unity in diversity
Four partners are working together in the AI Rescue project, which is funded by the BMVI: In addition to the work of scientists at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU), the Björn Steiger Foundation, as consortium leader, is contributing user expertise along the rescue chain in the service of emergency response. The Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) is responsible for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders and will host a total of two expert workshops at the beginning and end of the project period. The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) contributes with its expertise in the areas of Digital Health - Connected Healthcare and Design Thinking - to the overall project in order to produce promising application scenarios in the later course with the help of a study support group (Subject Matter Experts). The chair "Digital Health - Connected Healthcare" headed by Prof. Dr. Bert Arnrich at the joint digital engineering faculty of the Hasso Plattner Institute and the University of Potsdam deals with the collection and analysis of health-related data from daily life and its linkage with clinical data. The AI Rescue project will explore how mobile sensor technology can be used in emergency situations to monitor critical health conditions and collect important data for further treatment in the hospital.
With this approach, the project makes a significant contribution to the federal government's AI strategy, to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure's (BMVI) Digitalization Action Plan, and to the modernization of emergency services in general through an integrated data-information flow. A further, overarching goal of the research work is to use artificial intelligence as a key cross-sector technology to significantly improve the transfer of AI solutions in the economy and to contribute to a restructuring of the Lausitz lignite region. This applies to ensuring emergency and health care and thus increasing the quality of life, but also to the strategic development of structurally weak regions facing profound transformation, such as the industrial sites in Lusatia. In this way, the innovation project is intended to make an equal contribution to the development and expansion of new economic fields of the future and to overcoming social challenges in the health sector.
The BMVI is funding the AI Rescue project as part of its Digitalization Action Plan, which supports data-based, digital applications for Mobility 4.0. The feasibility study is scheduled for completion in October 2021 and will include an implementation concept for innovative concepts.