Nearly nine million people died of cancer in 2015 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The institution has warned of a lack of treatment: in 2017, less than 30% of developing countries administered it. In addition, each patient needs a specific treatment that must be monitored to avoid complications.
Half of the Finnish family of Lauri Sippola are doctors and the other half are engineers, like him. The young man explains, "Probably because of this background, I always had, one way or another, a passion for the intersection between healthcare and technology." From this passion comes Kaiku Health, a digital platform already used in hospitals in several European countries to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. This work has allowed Sippola to become one of the winners of Innovators Under 35 Europe from MIT Technology Review.
Kaiku's algorithms monitor treatments for over 25 different types of cancer. With the data it collects and processes through machine learning, the platform predicts the evolution of treatments. "The oncologist has the information of what could happen next and in this way supports and instructs the patient in a more personalized way. This methodical digital monitoring has helped patients better understand their own situation and progress and thus be more informed," explains Sippola.
A mobile application 'interviews' the user to learn more about the patient's illness: what symptoms exist, what the treatment is, and so on. The oncologists receive the data as well as a notification if something unexpected happens. Through this method, they can change the treatment or care of the patient. Thus, the platform reduces the work of healthcare professionals and prioritizes the decisions they have to make, including consultation time. In addition, the data helps "the entire scientific community" to develop combinations of therapies.
Kaiku Health, whose business model is Software as a Service or SaaS, has offices in Finland, Sweden, and Germany. The platform is already used in more than 60 hospitals in these countries as well as in others throughout Switzerland and Italy. In addition, the company collaborates with pharmaceutical and other biotechnology companies specializing in data. Sippola explains that they not only want to expand in Europe, but also in the United States. The Finnish innovator is proud to say, "We have been able to help in the daily life of these patients by giving them a secure digital application and a connection to their professionals, which improves their sense of security and quality of life."
Livindas Oy's CEO and member of the Innovators Under 35 Europe 2019 jury, Tiina Hynninen, believes that the technology, already being used in more than sixty European hospitals, "is an excellent demonstration of the need for and success of a monitoring platform for cancer patients".
By José Manuel Blanco
Translation: Brian Bostwick