Transforming care coordination
Finnish health tech startup Buddy Healthcare wants to streamline communications for the benefit of healthcare professionals, patients and their families.
At present, hospitals have to deal with a whole lot of disconnectivity. Typically, care personnel doesn’t know how their patients are doing before and after surgeries; they don’t have tools to monitor patients and receive up-to-date health information; and they spend an extensive amount of time on communications and paperwork. In addition, patients hardly want to be bystanders in their own treatment: they want to actively participate in decision-making, receive easy-to-follow timely instructions and always know what will happen next in their care path.
Helsinki startup company Buddy Healthcare was founded in late 2015 to help solve these problems. Markus Lind, Chief Sales Officer at Buddy Healthcare, explains that the company drives for a “5-star patient experience”.
“We work to transform pre- and post-surgical care together with our customers,” he says.
High on the company’s trouble-shooting list, one finds the most significant problems hospitals, clinics and patients are facing today: patient adherence to treatment, late cancellations and no-shows, administrative work and care quality.
Desperately seeking data
The first version of the BuddyCare platform was launched in 2016, and the following year, the application was tested by, for example, patients’ families.
“When a family member is in a hospital, our solution serves to keep everybody up to date and guards against uncertainty and anxiety,” Lind says.
Already in the planning phases of the platform, the Buddy team consulted hospitals in Oulu and Helsinki. Collaboration with HUS New Children’s Hospital started in 2018 as digitization of pediatric cardiology care pathways commenced at the hospital.
Markus Lind explains that, previously, the hospital provided pre- and post-procedure guidance and materials via phone calls or mail.
“In the digitized care pathway, the pediatric patients’ parents download our free app where they receive timed pre- and post-procedure materials such as fasting instructions, a video about the procedure, procedure checklists, and administrative forms,” he says.
The mobile app contains also real-time messaging, allowing the parents to contact the care personnel if needed.
Buddy Healthcare leadership team from left: Markus Lind, Peter Hänninen, Jukka Hassinen and Jussi Määttä
Eliminating red tape
For the care personnel, automating care pathways means a variety of things, too. For instance, the nurses now use a remote monitoring dashboard, where they can see an overview of the patients’ progress in one glance. The platform collects pre-questionnaires and patients’ feedback to the nurse’s dashboard.
“Automated virtual care not only speeds up the patient communication, but it also reduces administrative work,” Lind says, adding that the system helps in identifying a potential no-show, too – or if there is a family out there that needs extra support.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, hospitals and patients are facing limitations in visits and treatment – and therefore, the need for virtual care and digital patient communication has increased. According to Lind, the BuddyCare platform can do a lot in the battle against coronavirus.
“In addition to communication, the platform can be used for symptom tracking, remote monitoring and data collection purposes.”
Buddy Healthcare is presently in collaboration with 10 public hospitals in Finland, and a few abroad as well, for instance in Germany. Lind comments that getting the actual, genuine participation of the healthcare professionals is the key in developing the platform.
“In our entire health tech ecosystem, it is vital to get the doctors and nurses involved in order to come up with the solutions that go beyond the surface.”
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Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: Buddy Healthcare
Startup Fast Facts
Name: Buddy Healthcare
Product: Mobile care coordination and patient engagement platform
Team size: 14
Target market: Hospitals & clinics, their patients and patients’ families