Starting With Rheumatic Diseases
Initially we are focusing on rheumatic diseases. According to EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism), rheumatic diseases affect more individuals than any other disease group in the industrialized world. They state that a third of people of all ages are affected at some point during their lifetime. Furthermore, they describe a situation in Europe where almost every family is affected in some way by a rheumatic disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of rheumatic disease. RA affects people all over the world, although it is more common in women than in men. Almost 20 million people worldwide were living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2017, with over a million new cases diagnosed each year, according to estimates from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study. The true number of people suffering is not fully known since many people don’t seek treatment until their symptoms become severe.
The disease is more common in northern Europe and North America, with an estimated prevalence of 0.5 to 1.0% [1,2], but less common in southern Europe and some developing countries.
Rheumatoid Arthritis generally results in a poorer quality of life . This is something we strive to challenge and improve through research, education and motivational support.
The Elsa Digital Companion Application is developed to support people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis to reach a new normal faster and live life to its fullest. Users can track and follow up on symptoms, habits and medications to better understand how these correlate. After setting up a personal plan, Elsa will guide the user through everyday life. With software-driven Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions we have designed health programs, endorsed by health-care professionals. The programs offer support with self-management techniques to better cope with the illness.
The Power of Co-creation
Our design oriented development process is empowered by a user-first mind-set. The individuals diagnosed with a chronic disease, are holding the crucial and useful insights needed to create powerful tools. Their needs and requests guide us going forward. We also always include many other important co-creators such as patient advisory boards, patient organizations, specialized doctors and health-care practitioners, scientists, industry professionals etc.
Our goal is to make the latest research available to people with a chronic disease in an educational and useful way. For example, by highlighting facts explaining how different habits can improve the individual’s everyday life. To facilitate behavioral change and the coping needed when diagnosed with a chronic disease, we are collaborating with behavioral change science professionals to incorporate cognitive behavioral techniques into the tools.
In order to create tools based on science and the latest research, we are also proudly collaborating with several research institutions in Europe, such as the Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University and Linköping University, Leiden University as well as other Nordic and European institutions.