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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Akara to start clinical trials at Tartu University Hospital

15th November 2022

Irish robotics company signs MoU with Estonian hospital after success on EIT Health programme.

EIT Health, Europe’s largest health innovation network, today announced that Irish start-up, Akara, has signed an MoU with Tartu University Hospital, Estonia’s largest healthcare provider and core partner of EIT Health. The partnership was forged after the two were matched on EIT Health’s ‘Start-ups Meet Healthcare Providers’ accelerator programme, earlier in 2022.

Akara is is an AI and robotics company that has developed a ground-breaking platform to autonomously disinfect hospitals and healthcare settings. As part of the MoU a software application will be available to workers at Tartu University Hospital to digitally log cleaning tasks in real-time, set to commence late 2022. This is the first time Akara’s software will be deployed live outside of a test site in Ireland.

Approximately 8.9 million healthcare associated infections occur in European hospitals and long-term care facilities each year. Up to 70% of these infections are preventable by improving disinfection and hygiene practices. Akara, a Trinity College Dublin spin-out, has developed fully autonomous disinfection robots to carry out high quality air and surface decontamination in clinical settings.

COVID-19 has brought healthcare environmental hygiene into focus, however thousands of clinical hours are lost every day waiting for hospital rooms to be decontaminated,” said Graham Armitage, Interim Managing Director, EIT Health Ireland-UK.

At EIT Health we support start-ups that innovate to optimise the patient experience. Akara’s futuristic software has capability to reduce patient wait times, improve transparency associated with clinical disinfection, and alleviate pressure on cleaning staff by eliminating paperwork. Akara’s official partnership and continued collaboration with a core partner of EIT Health’s demonstrates the visibility start-ups can benefit from by joining our network.”

EIT Health’s ‘Start-ups Meet Healthcare Providers,’ managed by Innovation in Health, is a challenge based accelerator programme that connects high-potential start-ups to a variety of European public/private hospitals. Each year, providers pose specific challenges from within their local health system. In 2022, Tartu University Hospital set a challenge in autonomous disinfection. After a series of masterclasses, workshops and pitching sessions, Akara was offered a pilot project with the hospital.

The aim of Start-ups Meet Healthcare Providers is to ease market access for start-ups by offering them direct engagement with target users, tailored coaching, and the opportunity to garner personalised feedback and validation,” said Bojana Trajkovska, Senior Project Manager at Innovation in Health Akara demonstrated the potential impact of its automated solution during the programme and convinced Tartu University Hospital to move forward with a collaboration.”

We were honoured to be selected to the Start-ups Meet Healthcare Providers challenge earlier this year. Participating on this EIT Health programme afforded us the opportunity to develop a relationship with a target hospital and potential user of our core technology,” said Conor McGinn, CEO at Akara.

Insights gained from Tartu University Hospital stakeholders helped inform key elements of our business model and go-to-market strategy. Tartu is regarded a research and innovation powerhouse in Europe, so we are proud to have since signed an MoU to begin a trial of our technology within the hospital.

Disinfectants and robust cleaning procedures are critical in healthcare settings to prevent cross contamination, disease outbreak, and hospital-acquired infections. At Tartu we are committed to exploring innovative solutions to make our hospital practices more efficient for patients,” said Triin Arujõe, Head of Environment and Cleaning Department, and Tiina Teder, Quality Manager of Environment and Cleaning Department, Infection Control Nurse at Tartu University Hospital. “Akara’s scalable cleaning solution is innovative, creative and environmentally friendly. We look forward to trialling this software to assist hospital staff in the cleaning and disinfection process.”

EIT Health Ireland-UK will sponsor MedTech Rising in Galway on 1st December 2022. Learn how your organisation can join Europe’s largest health innovation network by contacting our team to arrange a meeting at the event.

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