We are a team of 3 and we are located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our members are:
- Csenge Varjas - IT Service Delivery Associate at a Pharmaceutical Company
- Joey Oostenbrink - Developer at an IT Company
- Sebastian Sztruhar - Product Owner at SaaS Company
We hope that you will find our solution - HELFI - value adding and interesting.
There are several issues when patients and doctors interact, which can seriously impact the outcome and efficiency of the patients`diagnosis and treatment. We realized that most of the below identified problems related to the phenomenon of health literacy, which is also recognized and addressed by the WHO.
- Lack of general medical knowledge. People often lack general health knowledge, which makes it more difficult to provide the doctors with a comprehensive overview of symptoms. This jeopardizes the ability of correctly explaining all the symptoms and the possibility to mention all of the occurred symptoms.
- Not understanding the signals of the body and how they feel. Unfortunately, patients often lack an accurate overview of their symptoms and sometimes they simply do not recognise or understand the signals of their bodies.
- Barriers to communication. Studies show that miscommunication and the wrong interpretation of words can in many cases lead to mislead diagnosis, thereby preventing the patient from getting the right care. Especially if the patient and the doctor do not have a common language to communicate on.
- Limited time with the doctor. Doctors often have very short time to understand their patients and their symptoms. This makes it difficult to have a proper overview of one`s health and to diagnose them at first attempt.
All these can make it difficult and time consuming for the healthcare system to identify the right medical treatment in an efficient and effective way, which can even lead to the worsening of the patient’s health, thus prolonged time spans of being untreated. Additionally, limited health literacy is associated with high health system costs.
HELFI is designated to enhance and make the collaboration more efficient and effective between doctors and their patients. HELFI is an aid for patient use, where the patients can collect and log their symptoms, hence prepare better for the consultation.
- In the app, the patient can pick an area on the visual human body, where they experience their symptoms.
- After additional data input, the app will ask the user about additional, common symptoms. Once those questions are answered, HELFI asks more targeted questions. These questions are determined based on the knowledge base of HELFI. In the background, the different illnesses and their symptoms are categorized, so once HELFI picks up a pattern among the answers related to the specific illnesses in the database, it will ask more questions related to these specific illnesses.
- This way the user will need to verify if they experienced those symptoms or not. The more input there is, the more accurate (illness-specific) questions can be asked. This way the app helps the user to get an overview of most symptoms, which can be presented to the doctor. Additionally, HELFI supports multiple languages and enables translation of the symptom list from one language to another.
The usage of HELFI can significantly improve many aspects of the healthcare sector and make things easier for the participants:
- Comprehensive overview of symptoms. HELFI is an application helping the patient to collect all the experienced symptoms at one place, which can easily be presented to the doctor during the consultation. This provides the doctor with a better overview of the symptoms, hence decreasing the chance of a misdiagnose and it helps the doctor to make more informed decisions.
- Gives a better understanding of symptoms. Due to health illiteracy, HELFI was designed to help the patient to reflect on their condition or potential symptoms, which they might not see as a potential symptom. This increases health literacy by educating the users: they become more aware of their body, and help them to relate symptoms better.
- Helps to standardize communication. HELFI is asking simple questions, therefore it provides the doctor with a simple overview of the symptoms. Due to the translation function, it reduces the language barriers and lowers the level of potential miscommunication due to the standardization.
- Less time spent on understanding the patient. HELFI helps the patient to prepare (reflect and collect the symptoms) prior to the doctor`s visit. This reduces the time spent on the consultation (less follow-up questions), and by providing a better overview it makes the initial diagnosis more accurate, This way the consultation is more effective, hence decreasing the number of necessary visits or follow-up appointments.
- The early diagnosis benefits the patients and the healthcare system. The benefit of giving the patient the right treatment by improved diagnostics is two-fold: On one hand, it potentially reduces the recovery time and it prevents the illness from developing further. On the other hand, it reduces the amount of resources (financial and human) which the healthcare system needs to spend on curing the patients. The latter one can especially benefit the patients, where healthcare services are not founded by the government.
- Data can be used to predict and prevent health issues. By using the demographics and the reported measures, it is possible to see in which areas certain symptoms are commonly reported together and what the likely cause is. It is also possible to predict an individual user’s issues by identifying patterns in their previous app usage.
Customers: Our target users are people with medical symptoms, who are familiar with using digital media.
Competition: Our main competitors are the following:
- Post-it notes → easy to note down some symptoms
- https://www.webmd.com/ → health checker and a knowledge base of symptoms
- https://www.healthline.com/ → they have built-in symptom checkers and explanations
- https://careclinic.io/ → symptom checker and pretty much does everything we do, and better. EXCEPT for our questions engine which tries to inform the user about relevant symptoms. CareClinic’s symptom checker/tracker only logs what the user writes down.
- https://kaikuhealth.com/ → specialized at cancer patients
Our strength as opposed to the competition: Our question engine helps the user to identify most of the relevant symptoms, so the patient can be diagnosed faster.
- Partner with private clinics so their patients can use our app. By preparing patients better for their consultation, the clinic can save time and therefore money.
- Users can pay for premium content such as statistics and predictions based on measurements reported in the past.
- Apply for public funding such as EU Health Programme
- Selling the data is a possibility since there is no directly identifiable information stored in the app. The value is in the measurements and demographics.Possibly obtain some sort of official endorsement or quality mark, which gives our service credibility.
- The core of the application should be available for free of charge for everyone, because our aim is to improve patient treatment and diagnostics. We believe everyone deserves a better diagnosis. For this stage our plan is to partner with medical staff to optimize our question engine.
- The second phase of the application will introduce the registration of the diagnosis for a collection of symptoms and their treatment. The user will also be able to track if the symptoms are getting better or worse, or if the prescribed treatment results in any adverse events or it improves their conditions. Our plan is to hire someone for the legal paperwork, so we comply with the EU GDPR and MDR legislation, among others.
- In the third phase of the application a subscription model should be implemented, that allows the user to track every symptom at its occurrence. This will allow us to show the user advanced analytics of how their symptoms evolved over time and apply machine learning algorithms to detect specific diseases at an early stage.
Our app will collect general and anonymized data about the user, such as their age, location, gender, height, and weight. This information combined with the collection of symptoms will allow us to create a better understanding of regional diseases, which can also help the governments to focus on preventive measurements at specific regions.
"HELFI is for everyone, because everyone deserves a better diagnosis."