Too many people still face a cancer diagnosis, and far too many die from the disease. While much work remains, decreasing death rates and increasing numbers of survivors are important indicators of the progress we are making in both diagnosing and treating cancer. The increase in patients and their post-treatment care poses new challenges for the healthcare system. The recovery process takes time and patients are often monitored for 5-10 years, either by specialists or basic healthcare providers. Finding new solutions that systematically monitor large number of patients, their symptoms and recovery progress, could both make make care more efficient and optimize clinical outcomes.
The Finnish startup Noona Healthcare is determined to improve the quality of cancer patient care, and has developed a mobile service that allow patients to track and report their wellbeing. The cloud-based service, accessed through mobile, tablet or PC, enable patients to report their treatment and illness-related symptoms direct to their clinic. Knowing the patient’s medical history, the system asks for more details on the type, duration and location of symptoms. It even distinguish between severe and less serious symptoms, recognizing when the patient need acute medical attention. And if immediate action is not required, it gives advice on self-treatment and monitoring.
The innovative system, developed together with Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) Cancer Center, give cancer clinics new opportunities to improve efficiency. Noona categorizes patients based on their treatment needs, helping clinics to reallocate resources, focusing on the patients who have the most acute situation. In addition, the solution save time and resources as more patient contact is handled electronically, potentially improving doctor-patient relationship. Currently, patients have had to call the oncology department by phone to discuss their symptoms, which can be difficult and time-consuming with hundreds of patients.
Many cancer patients feel they have been left on their own when cancer treatment ends. Noona offer a new channel for patients to stay in touch with their care personnel, providing patients with support and a sense of security and peace of mind. In addition, the symptom data given by patients ensure that the treatment process is personalized, potentially optimizing clinical outcomes. And the data provided by millions of cancer patients could provide doctors, researchers and treatment developers with unique opportunities and insights to overcome cancer.
Noona has attracted much attention and was awarded Best Health Innovation 2016 in Finland, and was evaluated by the Healthtech Summit, one of the leading European digital health events, as one of the 20 most promising digital health companies in Europe. The startup has previously presented their innovative solution on the main stage of Health 2.0 Conference in Silicon Valley, and has been funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.