ALERT-ITS: Development of a prediction and monitoring model for regional prognosis of the need for intensive care and ventilation due to environmental factors

Start date:    January 2024
End date:    December 2026
Funding:    Innovationsausschuss beim Gemeinsamen Bundesausschuss G-BA (Innovationsfond)
Project responsibility on site: Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig, Dr. Christian Merkenschlager, M.Sc. Katharina Sasse, M.Sc. Michael Johler


Climate change is already being increasingly evident, which has been particularly noticeable in the recent heat records. Heat events will continue to increase in frequency and intensity in the future and heat is just one of many climatic changes that are also becoming health risk factors. To prepare the healthcare system for the changed and increased demand, preventative action must be taken, and adaptations implemented, as the capacity of available intensive care beds is already at about 88%. Almost every third intensive care treatment involves patients with acute myocardial infarction, acute heart failure, respiratory insufficiency, pneumonia, stroke or acute worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An increase of diseases is expected as a result of increases in hot days, extreme weather and air pollution events. A resource-optimised adaptation strategy of inpatient care to the health consequences of climate change is therefore essential.

The aim of the ALERT-ITS project is to develop a prediction and forecasting model that can be used to anticipate the occurrence of environmentally-related diseases. The focus is on the regional occurrence of atmospheric events such as heatwaves or local pollution events and the resulting additional demand for intensive medical care. The researchers will define regions for Germany based on human biometrological and air hygiene factors, among others. Weather and environmental data will be combined with health data within the regions in order to analyse relationships between atmospheric influences and the need for intensive medical care. A prediction model will then be developed and validated. The Chair of Regional Climate Change and Health is responsible for defining the regions, analysing the environment-health associations and developing the prediction model and scores. The project group is also developing and testing a monitoring system using the Augsburg region as an example. The aim is to use real-time weather and environmental data to predict the need for intensive medical care.

If successful, the findings and results obtained can be used to develop and implement a nationwide monitoring system and thus help to ensure that sufficient intensive care beds and ventilation options can be planned depending on the weather conditions.
The project is being funded for three years with a total of around 1.8 million euros.


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Consortium partners:
Dr. Bastian Wein (Consortium leader, I. Medizinische Klinik – Kardiologie, Pneumologie, Intensivmedizin, Endokrinologie des Universitätsklinikums Augsburg)
Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig (Lehrstuhl für Regionalen Klimawandel und Gesundheit, Medizinische Fakultät, Universität Augsburg)
Christian Günster und Patrik Dröge (Wissenschaftliches Institut der AOK (WIdO))
Dr. Iñaki Soto Rey (Institut für Digitale Medizin des Universitätsklinikum Augsburg)