Currently there are more than 87 million people worldwide suffering from Eating Disorders (more than 10 million in Europe). The associated direct –diagnosis, treatment and supervision or control– and indirect costs –economic loses caused to both patients and relatives–, can reach more than 100,000 € per patient, as well as an important loss of life qualit. The estimated economical impact of the disease is about 253 B€ worldwide. There are more than 230,000 people dying every year because of the illness: suicide, depression and severe anxiety are common during the active disease and treatment.
Even though they can be successfully and fully treated to complete remission, only 1/10 people with Eating Disorders receive proper treatment, due to stigmatization and current inefficient treatments available, based on paper records like homework. Moreover, Eating Disorders are increasing significantly and it is estimated that these figures will increase to 10 times over the next 10 years.
Patients with an Eating Disorder (mostly teenagers) are digital native, and our customer validation has shown that they feel alone and look in their mobile phone for a close friend; in fact they see their therapists as the only ones in which they can trust. Therefore, it raises the need of finding economic solutions that not only can establish efficient links between patients and therapists, but also can collect useful data for clinics, hospitals, healthcare insurances and pharmacy companies to improve therapy results.
Is in this context where our idea was born: HealthApp is a company focused on the development of mobile applications for the health sector, with special emphasis on improving communication between patients and therapists in long-term and chronic diseases; so we want to become an effective support which patients feel safe and comfortable with, in the time between a medical consultation and the next. And we have started facing Eating Disorders with TCApp: the only existing European ICT tool for improving Eating Disorders treatment based on mobile applications, cloud computing, serious games and artificial intelligence.
With TCApp we are committed to increase therapy efficiency by increasing a 20% of patients engagement and reducing a 10% of therapy cost, reducing at the same time the high social impact of the illness. In fact, our first Clinical and Customer Validation, done on fall 2015 and supported by the FICHe (Future Challenge for eHealth, FIWARE) accelerator, reported promising results regarding the reduction of patients' anxiety and the increase of the therapy engagement, as well as an improvement of the direct healthcare assistance (therapists had more time per patient and more valuable data).
HealthApp is a start-up company launched in November 2013 with headquarters in Terrassa (Spain). Our aim is to become the first European company facing the challenges of connecting patients and therapists, improving their quality of life and improve the European mental healthcare. Our current technology eases that connection in between medical consultations. It is currently available on Google Play and Apple Store markets, and has been developed in collaboration with different public and private health institutions in the Barcelona area (Althaia, Hospital de Sant Rafael, CST, ITA and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu).
Through TCApp patients can record thoughts, situations, actions, emotions and whatever the therapists consider relevant for the therapy, since our app can be customized according to each therapy requirements. It involves algorithms based on artificial intelligence that can generate alarms when strategic words (i.e. suicide, death, etc.) are written. We have also incorporated technologies that allow real-time online contact with the therapists and gaming aesthetics, with prizes and rewards to improve patients’ commitment.
The BackOffice tool for therapists is a web-based tool where therapists can see in real time what their patients have registered. It acquires raw data and connects with the App for further processing (i.e. generation of graphs in a period of time to see parameter comparison and patient evolution). The BackOffice is designed in a way that therapists can interact in real time with the use of PUSH notifications. The tool is integrated in Azure server in order to accomplish with the most restrictive data protection laws and it is prepared for the integration in local management systems of hospitals and clinics.
With our application, patients and therapists will be in continuous contact, allowing a faster reaction from the therapist according to the patients’ needs.