Elsa—Behind the Scenes, Part 4

Elsa—Behind the Scenes, Part 4

We are having another look behind the scenes to talk to our colleagues about their work with Elsa and what it means for them personally. What are the challenges? How do they envision Elsa going forward? 

Monique: “This job has changed how I see myself”

I am a programmer and I have been working at Elsa for almost a year now. I think that being able to create something that Elsa’s users can interact with and actually use in order to feel better is what I like most of all. Right now we are working with a lot of new technology and tools that we have not used earlier. It is a learning process that feels both scary and challenging, but we help each other out. 

This is my first job in Sweden. I am from Brazil. It has been tough to not only change my address but also country and culture. When I moved here it was actually the first time I thought of myself and what I wanted, rather than doing what others expect of me.

I am glad and grateful that I ended up at Elsa. This job has changed how I see myself. It is important for me to feel independent and to have something to be proud of. My self-confidence has improved and I feel that I am included and have adjusted to life in Sweden.

When I explain to my friends and others on the outside about what it is like to work at Elsa they are amazed. I myself was a bit skeptical initially, but now I know that this is real. All my colleagues really care about each other and it has a spillover effect on how we approach and treat our users. It feels really refreshing. 

Adam: “Hearing from users that are positively impacted by what we do warms my heart”

I am a UX designer at Elsa. UX stands for user experience. My job is to find out how people who use Elsa go about their lives, and then design the app on that premise. What are our users’ daily challenges?

As I do not personally live with this type of diagnosis, I need to empathize with what it is like. I try to identify the parallels in my life in different ways. Having asthma and a chronic eye disease allows me to create an understanding. 

I really enjoy what I do—the work itself, and all the people I encounter— to the extent that sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a job. But it has been a challenge for me to sit at home and work during the pandemic as I enjoy having people around me. As a business, the challenge mostly lies in the fact that we are a limited number of people who want to do a lot. 

The purpose of Elsa is to make people feel even better about their disease. Elsa should be a part of the system, from getting clarity about whether a medication is working well and that you reflect about what you need to prioritize in your everyday life in order to feel as good as possible, to contributing insights for research. 

The most amazing and touching part about working at Elsa is to be able to hear from the users whose days are positively impacted by what we do. Imagine people downloading our app and then writing to us explaining how grateful they are that Elsa exists! It warms my heart. 

Pelle: “If healthcare is to be fair, then everyone who wants the app should have access to it”

My position is Chief Technology Officer. A lot of what I do revolves around how we manage the data from our users. Elsa is largely built on the fact that users can log how they feel and which medications they take to be able to identify patterns over time. These data are protected by tight regulations that we need to adhere to so that nothing goes wrong. 

It is tough for such a small company like Elsa to bear all these things in mind, but for us, it is important to have a risk-based approach in what we do—we think a lot about potential risks during the development of the app, especially in the early phase of the design work. This means that we can feel secure and sleep well at night. 

One of the goals set out since we started Elsa is that the users should not pay with anything other than their own data—that is why this is so important for us. If healthcare is to be fair, then everyone who wants and needs the app should have access to it. 

We are on our way towards a society that builds on what we talk about such as dataism, and this is exciting for Elsa’s role and healthcare in general. There is strength in GDPR, that people as distinct individuals have more rights regarding their data. It becomes a sort of power shift towards the patients. I see a future where person-centered care can be empowered by this.