UU Innovation

For the patient’s best

2016-03-11

More power over their own health and better healthcare. That’s what Uppsala company Symptoms hopes to achieve with its new software that connects to patients’ journals. Patients themselves fill in symptoms and discomfort over time, thereby creating an important basis for making treatment decisions. Moreover, for the first time, the value of healthcare interventions can be measured.

“We want to make healthcare more patient-centred. Patients need help in sharing with us how they feel, and this data can then be used as decision support within healthcare. The value that healthcare brings the population can be monitored, reviewed and evaluated”, says Martin Wohlin, specialist physician at Uppsala University Hospital, Associate Professor of Emergency Care at Uppsala University, and founder of Symptoms.

Martin Wohlin, co-founder of Symptoms.

Providing existing journal systems with an external module where patients can enter symptoms as well as possible side-effects makes it easier for treating physicians to overview their medical history. This is particularly important to avoid that only the most recent symptoms are treated.

Treatment based on patient needs

“It’s easy to miss changes in a patient’s health status that occur over time in environments with poor continuity of patient-physician relationship, or when working under pressure. Arriving at the underlying cause of the illness can thus be difficult. What’s needed, quite simply, are new tools that provide an overview of the whole patient and show trends based on patient-generated data. Then we can make sound decisions based on patient needs”, notes Martin.

“It is important to build solutions together with patients and healthcare staff”, he continues, and it’s here that his own medical experience is crucial, as well as the background and skills of the other owners. Also involved in the company are Johan Sundström, specialist physician at Uppsala University Hospital, Professor of Epidemiology at Uppsala University, and Research Director at Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Edvin Hellsing, project manager and entrepreneur, and Niclas Lindstedt, a programmer with a background in healthcare.

Need to overcome inertia

“If the team is our strength, our greatest challenge is the huge inertia that exists in healthcare. Decision-making and implementation paths within county authorities are incredibly long and money is often lacking. This means that innovations may have difficulty in finding ways to move forward”, observes Martin.

He highlighted the support they have received from the innovation system available around Uppsala University and the University Hospital, as well as the cooperation the company has built up with staff groups and patient associations.

“Moa Fransson and Nhils Forslund at UU Innovation mean a tremendous lot to us. We have also received excellent help from Uppsala Innovation Centre. They believe in us and in what we want to do, and that is important. This is a visionary, long-term endeavour, but the benefits to society are large and extend over the entire healthcare spectrum; patients, physicians and nursing care as a whole. Furthermore, our new platform is especially good for people with ongoing care needs; the chronically ill, the elderly with multiple diseases, and people who cannot communicate in Swedish, concludes Martin Wohlin.