Why are we doing this? How did I decide to personally tackle the problem with healthcare? How did I decide to do something for healthcare, for patients and last but not least for myself?
I am not 16 anymore, but I do remember what my priorities were back then. Playing basketball after school and impressing the girls. Now imagine “John” doing just this. Except all of a sudden he wakes up in a hospital; standing in front of him is a guy in a white coat and a clip-board. “John, you’ve just had a ketoacidotic coma so we performed an oral glucose tolerance test. The result was that you have 14 mmol/l of glucose in your blood. We determined that you have Type-1 Diabetes. A nurse will talk to you and prescribe a glucose meter and an insulin pen. She will explain in more detail, but basically you will need to prick your fingers preferably 9 times a day to measure your blood glucose level and record the readings in a notebook, and if your readings are too high you need to stick the pointy end of the insulin pen into your stomach. You also need to do this before every meal.” A natural reaction from every 16 year old to this is:
Unfortunately the “WUT?” facial expression does not only appear on the faces of kids newly diagnosed with T1D, but to almost anyone ever going to a doctor. So we thought about how we could make this better for everyone. Our first premise was that even the doctors don’t see the right information and we started brainstorming an app where people could enter any or all of their medical data. We realised that this was way too difficult to organise into an app. So we decided to build an app where users can enter only their basic (but vital) health information and then we will see which way to go based on user feedback. Our friends were developing the app at night after they got home from their full time jobs. Not long after we uploaded the app to the stores feedback started pouring in! Even after this, it wasn’t a dead simple decision to go from a steady and well paying Corporate Risk Management job with a new born child and a wife to a no-salary existence. Still, I decided to jump ship and dive into the rough waters.
Based on the feedback we started working on a new application built from the ground up. Our app is now serving well over 50,000 patients from 189 countries localised into 11 languages. Today, it helps people upload and organise the results they received from lab tests or from home measurements, such as blood glucose, blood pressure, weight, medications taken or even calorie intake, and organise them into understandable smart visualisations. However, we did not forget about our initial premise of helping patient-doctor communication. Any measurement entered into the application can be formed into a report and sent to the doctor. These reports were designed together with doctors so that it is useful and accepted by them. The smart data visualisations that can be found in the application were migrated onto the sleek looking PDF reports for easy information consumption.
We want to change healthcare because nobody is going to do this for us.