Nordic startup SideKickHealth is working with the COVID-19 response team in Iceland to provide its digital therapeutics platform to people who have been diagnosed with the virus.
Its platform allows the remote triaging and managing of large numbers of people in isolation, who self-report on a panel of symptoms and measurements via a smartphone app multiple times a day.
Patients are assessed via a call with a doctor, with symptoms monitored every 12 hours and next steps proposed when necessary. They receive targeted information and support such as prompts, videos and messages from their clinical teams.
Sidekick has been helped by Reykjavik-gaming group CCP to create an algorithm that classifies patients by disease severity and alerts healthcare workers if their condition deteriorates.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 1,086 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iceland.
The scheme aims to save hours of phone calls for symptom evaluation, relieving pressure from healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Sidekick CEO and cofounder, Dr Tryggvi Thorgeirsson said: “In many communities triaging and monitoring is done via telephone calls, which are very resource-intensive. But now we can remotely evaluate symptoms much more regularly and consistently, with much less effort. With risk-classification algorithms, we can then allow healthcare professionals to focus their resources on those patients who most urgently need them.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Founded by two doctors, Sidekick develops gamified digital therapeutic products and programmes, working with pharma and healthcare industry partners. Their aim is to improve chronic disease management across several therapeutic areas, including Type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis.
Pictured - Sidekick Health CEO, Tryggvi Thorgeirsson
In November last year, Sidekick announced two strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical giants. It is working with Bayer to provide a digital platform to patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and with Pfizer to offer a digital smoking cessation solution.
ON THE RECORD
Thorgeirsson said: “It is wonderful to be seeing this already impacting the clinical course, with people being called in for evaluation and treatment earlier and more focused than otherwise would have occurred. This way, we can intervene in a much more timely manner, for example giving IV fluids to dehydrated patients to prevent serious complications like acute kidney failure.
“I feel like everything I've been doing over the past 20 years, from engineering, to medicine, public health and then spending six years building and validating this platform with my colleagues, has prepared me to be able to help at this point. I am very thankful to see our platform helping people through this difficult crisis.”
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