News Entry

Artificial intelligence versus Corona: 2.99 million Euros for more resilience in the healthcare sector


NRW state government promotes intelligent early detection system to prevent supply bottlenecks for medical protective equipment

Ensuring healthcare infrastructure, even in times of crisis: Under the auspices of the Artificial Intelligence Competence Platform North Rhine-Westphalia KI.NRW, scientists are developing an AI-based early warning system to prevent supply bottlenecks for medical protective equipment. The aim is to ensure the supply of hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care facilities with articles of medical need even in the event of short-term shortages and to enable cost-efficient action during the pandemic. The system is being developed by a consortium consisting of KEX Knowledge Exchange AG and partners from science and industry. The funding decision amounting to around three million euros was handed over to KEX Knowledge Exchange AG today by Digital Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart.

To ensure that hospitals, doctors’ practices and care facilities can provide the best possible treatment services even in times of crisis, they need a reliable and robust medical procurement infrastructure. This includes the ability to order large quantities of quality-assured protective equipment at short notice – without incurring long delivery times and excessive costs. The importance of this was particularly evident in the early phase of the Corona pandemic. In the research project, an intelligent early warning system is now to be developed that can predict potential supply bottlenecks and thus strengthen the resilience of medical facilities.

The early warning system is being designed as an AI-based extension to existing procurement platforms. Orders placed by medical facilities via the platform are analyzed in real time with the help of the system. If the algorithm notices that certain items are in particularly high demand and a significant value of order numbers is exceeded, the early warning system sounds the alarm. Suppliers can then be informed in good time about new demand situations. In the future, supplier data could also be used to calculate the status of production and supply chains.

»With early warning systems based on artificial intelligence, we can help to ensure the security of supply of medical facilities and make our healthcare system more crisis-proof. I am therefore delighted that, together with strong partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, we are able to support the project, which is unique to date in Germany, « says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart.

Toni Drescher, CEO of KEX Knowledge AG and initiator of »Together with partners from business and science, we will provide targeted support for the digitization of hospitals and care facilities in order to strengthen the healthcare system in line with demand – even beyond pandemic times. « is one of the flagship projects of the Competence Platform Artificial Intelligence North Rhine-Westphalia KI.NRW. The competence platform accompanies the project as a strategic partner. »We support AI flagship projects funded by the state with the brand ‘Flagships powered by KI.NRW’. As a strategic partner, we strengthen efficient technology transfer and close cooperation between SMEs, startups, universities, colleges and research institutions in NRW. shows that there are also promising applications for AI technology in the health sector and, as an innovative AI project, contributes to the management of the corona pandemic, « says Nicole Langrock, Managing Director of KI.NRW. Several institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia have joined forces in a consortium to implement this project. In addition to the consortium leader KEX Knowledge Exchange AG, various research institutions and companies from NRW are working on the development of the early warning system.