Digital Angel


The activities of nursing staff in German hospitals not only demand a high level of technical expertise, but also extensive, individual interaction with patients. To ensure individual care of high quality, the patient’s personality traits and feelings need to be taken into account in addition to expertise. While the interplay between working with the feelings of the patient and the way nursing staff deal with their own emotions is a central element of interactive work, it is rarely considered. Performing emotional labor on a daily basis can however place considerable psychological demands on nursing staff, expressed for example through increased feelings of stress, greater exhaustion, or reduced job satisfaction. In the long term, this is associated with an increased risk of psycho-vegetative complaints and burnout. Aside from these health aspects, the existing, worsening shortage of skilled workers means that Germany’s hospitals are facing the task of improving the working conditions for nursing staff.



The challenge

The first challenged for the project is to determine the exact causes for the increased demands on nursing staff. Only then can suitable measures for the relief of nursing staff be developed. Subsequently, appropriate assistance systems have to be found to ultimately bring the measures to the nursing staff. Here the clinical context in particular has to be taken into account. Another challenge is to continuously determine the stress level of nursing staff in order to propose measures at a suitable point in time.


Our contribution

Within the scope of the "Digital Angel" project, Fraunhofer ISST is developing a platform (Caring Environment) to provide day-to-day support for nursing staff and effectively reduce the demands on them with suitable measures. Algorithms to identify stress form an important part of the platform. They analyze the ECG data of nursing staff to derive stress indicators. Based on these indicators, the platform can now evaluate when the demands on nursing staff are high, and then propose measures using the assistance system.



The overall result consists of the platform (Caring Environment), the assistance systems, and the methods and insights to reduce the high demands on nursing staff. The Caring Environment analyzes the ECG data of nursing staff and proposes the measures worked out by the assistance system at a suitable point in time. New insights about the demands on nursing staff are gained at the same time.



  • Fraunhofer IML
  • Fraunhofer ISST
  • Pius-Hospital Oldenburg
  • Ubimax GmbH
  • Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung


  • Subsidized by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • Project number: 02L18A080
  • Term: 09/2019-09/2022