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Project PERSIST presented in a pressconference at the University Medical Centre Maribor

Two partners of the PERSIST consortium – the University Medical Centre Maribor and the University of Maribor – united in a pressconference within the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month 2022. The event took place on March 28th in the University Medical Centre Maribor.

Maja Ravnik, MD, Head of the Oncology Department, explained the importance of preventive examinations. Due to a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month she pointed out that every year more people have cancer. Doctors want for patients that even with the illness, patients need live as good as possible. Cancer need to be discovered in the early stages. For this reason the University Medical Centre Maribor has several screening programs. But even with these programs numbers of cancer patients are still growing. Good news is that cancer is often found in the early stages of illness and patients have greater chance of suvrival.

If we want to offer patients better quality of life, we need to actively follow them. With the project PERSIST medical staff have additional and more in-depth contact with the patients and we could provide better care for them.” Dr. Ravnik said.

Matej Horvat, PhD, MD from the Oncology Depertment presented project PERSIST. Four medical centres in Slovenia, Spain, Belgium, Latvia are involved in the project. Altogether the clinical study consist of 160 patients (40 patients for each medical centre) with breast and colorectal cancer. The incidence of cancer is steadily rising. Fortunately more than half of cancer patients survive 5 years after their diagnosis of cancer. Cancer survivors have unmet needs, especially when they are returning to everyday life routine and to their working environment.

Dr. Matej Horvat stressed the following: “Researchers from University Medical Centre Maribor are very engaged in the project Persist H2020 and the possibility of developing a platform that would record relevant changes in health data. With Persist project we strive to design a platform that would enable us to collect all the relevant data regarding the health-related quality of life of our patients. This would be of tremendous importance to all health-care providers, enabling us to treat our patients in comprehensive and coordinated manner.”

Izidor Mlakar, PhD, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor showed the video of the application of project PERSIST that is used by the patients. On the video it was explained what patients are actually doing in the project PERSIST. Izidor Mlakar presented technical aspects of the project. The approach of the project PERSIST includes harmonization and analysis of electronic health records, collection and integration of electronic health records, alongside clinical data, into clinical routine. The PERSIST project is important because it proposes a concept of connected healthcare ecosystem with the use of artificial intelligence.

With the unified data PERSIST can get a significantly better assessment of the patients. Artificial intelligence offers new opportunities for the screening and prediction of health problems. PERSIST also help to increase the engagement of the patients in their care plans.

Izidor Mlakar also added: »The PERSIST project is important because it proposes a concept of connected healthcare ecosystem with the use of artificial intelligence. With the unified data we can get a significantly better assessment of the patients.«

In the conclusion Maja Ravnik, MD, stressed the importance of PERSIST for our regular clinical practice. With this type of application that we have in the project, doctors would have greater access to informations abot the patients.

When the speakers concluded, news media have expressed a desire to see the app that is used by the patients in the actual use. With this presentation, journalists got a better idea of what the app is and how can patients benefit from it.

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