Hubble, Be-Hope, and RB22 are the nicknames of the three BEAM+ mobile telepresence robots that children and youngsters hospitalised in the Lyon Institute of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology have been using since the start of the summer. The system set up by the medical staff and caregivers at the IHOPe with the Philanthropic Association of Parents of Children Suffering From Leukaemia and other cancers (APPEL) and Awabot, with the help of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), as part of the VIK-e project (Victory in Innovation for Kids – electronic), was presented to the media on 29 September.

The Vik-e project in a few words 

projet vik-e

For 2 years, the Vik-e project will conduct research in humanities and social science to verify that the availability of telepresence robots reduces the isolation of hospitalised children and youngsters, helps them to maintain emotional ties with their loved ones, and facilitates their return home by limiting the effects of the separation while in hospital.

“This extraordinary project will assess 24 young people, aged between 10 and 25, for 2 years”, explains Dr. Perrine Marec-Bérard, paediatric oncologist at the IHOPe (a health cooperation group between the Léon Bérard Centre and the Lyon Civil Hospices), who is coordinating the system for teenagers and young adults in cancerology (DAJAC) at the Léon Bérard Centre. The project is unprecedented in hospital circles.”

Awabot, which already took part in the “Robot Lycéen” project launched by the Rhône-Alpes regional authorities more than 2 years ago, is proud to be part of this project that will use mobile telepresence to enable these youngsters to stay in touch with their classmates, to witness events like the summer Olympics in Rio, and, most importantly, to feel close to home with their parents and siblings. Family members are not allowed to visit these isolated patients.

Indeed, the press conference was attended by Pr. Jean-Yves Blay, Managing Director of the Léon Bérard Centre, Dominique Deroubaix, Managing Director of Lyon Civil Hospices, Pr. Yves Bertand, Administrator and Dr. Christophe Bergeron, Medical Manager of the Institute Of Paediatric Haematology And Oncology (IHOPe), Dr. Perrine Marec-Bérard, paediatric oncologist and coordinator of the VIK-e project, Rose Fromont, President of APPEL, and Dr. Giovanni Caforio, CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

You can view their presentations and videos on the Léon Bérard Centre’s YouTube channel.

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