Appva’s CEO: the most important question is why?

26 February, 2019

Sweden’s population is getting older and healthtech is gaining increasing importance in healthcare. “Technology is an enabler for sustainable healthcare,” says Ulrika Kjellberg, CEO of Appva, the company that has developed an AI robot based on stated needs.

TEXT: ANNIKA ÅKERVALL

The service, which effectively saves time for people and organizations by removing time consuming administration, has changed the view of reporting. And made Gothenburg company, Appva, one of the candidates for the eHealth Award 2019.

One hundred million signatures

Today, the company’s Medication and Care Support System (MCSS) has 100,000 daily users and nearly one hundred million digital signatures for medication handling as reported by healthcare professionals in accordance with the Swedish Health Care Act and the Social Services Act.

Based on this data and with the help of artificial intelligence, Appva has trained a robot to identify and report classification of health interventions (KVÅ) codes to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, in accordance with the new regulations that came into effect on January 1 this year. Customer satisfaction and commitment among the staff at, for example, nursing homes is already high. And continues to increase.

“The algorithms help us to reduce mundane and time-consuming administration for qualified personnel,” says Ulrika Kjellberg. This time that can instead be used in meetings with patients or to develop the business.

The background to the KVÅ reporting requirement is that decision-makers wanted to know how big the need is, for example, in home care services when visiting elderly people suffering from multiple conditions. Documenting everything that is done to help patients provides important, long-term data.

In the MCSS system, both staff and managers can see what is being done for the patient. And patient safety is increasing through digital reminders, for example, if medication is ever missed.

The unique thing about the AI robot-or the KVÅ module as it is also known-is that the system now has built-in intelligence that makes reporting easy.

“It suggests codes, extracts information and makes this into a report that can be submitted. With the least possible effort,” says Ulrika Kjellberg.

Compared to the manual method where healthcare professionals have to search among hundreds of codes every time they deliver healthcare and then have to compile a monthly report of their activities, a lot of time is saved. But the system has never been purchased to replace people, emphasises Ulrika Kjellberg.

“It is about freeing up time for resources that we lack and using their time to generate value.”

“The service impacts very many people on a daily basis and we feel a great responsibility for ensuring that the system is robust and updated based on legal requirements.”

A lot of data is needed to build the right algorithms. Every healthcare intervention has a certain code and the knowledge exchange with healthcare professionals has been very important for the machine learning and further development of the tool.

Higher technological maturity today

Appva started in 2011 and has, from the beginning, had a close dialogue with its users. The product idea came about when a nursing home in Gothenburg posed a simple question about the possibility of having a smarter working method compared to manual lists. The challenge was to fully understand the customer’s needs.

“The starting point was to land in a digital solution and we immediately saw the need for a more mobile and secure solution. But the most important question is why?” says Ulrika Kjellberg.

She has continued to ask that question, for example, when she has been on customer visits and following closely the work done by care providers.

“There are many ‘a-ha’ experiences when you understand why staff do something in a certain way. And then we can focus on the underlying need. It has been a very fun journey to develop completely new solutions,” says Ulrika Kjellberg.

The use of medications by elderly people can, for example, be quite complex. Now, one record can be made instead of writing it done three times on paper. And above all, the overall picture is measured in real time, and not just through the annual patient safety report.

“As we see it, many feel they are now getting a new form of pride in their work. It is important to follow what is working to also find out what’s not working,” says Ulrika Kjellberg.

Continuing to develop the digital tool in close dialogue with customers is obvious. Appva encourages its users to be as involved as possible in the development process.

“We develop according to their needs, not what we believe are their needs.”

“In the beginning, it took half a year or a year before the user came back with requests for more functions. Now it goes much faster,” says Ulrika Kjellberg.

There is a higher technological maturity today and interest in healthtech is increasing.

Appva’s system is today used all over Sweden in various types of municipal care settings, including residential housing, social psychiatry and elderly nursing homes.

Ulrika Kjellberg and her colleagues are excited about this year’s eHealth Award, which puts the spotlight on Swedish innovations in healthtech.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place during the inauguration of Vitalis-the leading e-health conference in the Nordic countries-on May 21 in Gothenburg. The jury’s assessment criteria are based on the Swedish Vision for e-Health 2025.

Coala Life, who won the eHealth Award 2017, received FDA approval for its heart monitor in recent days.

READ MORE and apply for eHealth Award 2019

READ MORE: Coala Life winner of eHealth 2017

READ MORE: Winner of eHealth Award 2018: Kontigo Care

Collaboration examples

More than 20 people currently work at Appva in Gothenburg. Some activities are now also in Stockholm, through a collaboration built up with students from the Swedish royal institute of technology (KTH).

The image shows Ulrika Kjellberg (CEO), Gustav Kjellberg (Product Owner KVÅ) and Mustafa Hamada (Software Developer) from Appva.

The company has also developed a collaboration with Essity. Together, they have developed an interface where Appva’s system and the sensor tool, TENA Identifi™, communicate with each other. This means that more relevant measurement data can be obtained for testing incontinence protection, leading to a better incontinence care, says Ulrika Kjellberg.

Essity is one of the life science companies that today are partners in the new AI INNOVATION of Sweden.

READ MORE: Increased competiveness and more collaboration via AI INNOVATION of Sweden

READ MORE: More than money at stake in eHealth Award

Facts: The eHealth Award is a collaboration between HealthTech Nordic, Vitalis, Cerner and Sahlgrenska Science Park. The Award is based on the government´s and SKL´s Vision e-Health 2025 that aims to ensure Sweden will be best in the World in this area.