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Virtual care management system for solving fragmentation of chronic diseases treatment

The project, which has a budget of millions of euros and is led by Aalto University, involves University of Helsinki and numerous companies in the healthcare field.
Pitkäaikaissairauksien hoito on pirstaloitunutta ja kallista – ratkaisua haetaan virtuaalisesta hoidonohjaamosta
Photo: Mikko Raskinen / Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

In the Helsinki metropolitan area, 10% of patients use 80% of health care resources. Most of them suffer from one or more chronic diseases – and often encounter problems in accessing, planning and communicating with treatment providers.

"Modern Western health care is designed on the terms of short and intensive treatment periods, not on the terms of those with chronic illnesses", explains Paul Lillrank, Professor of Quality and Service Management at Aalto University. He runs the Business Finland and company-funded MASSE project, which aims to create a virtual care management system, the so called Virtual Care Operator (VCO), in just over two years to support the personalised and cost-effective treatment of long-term illnesses.

‘The care management system is like a virtual family doctor who looks after the implementation of care plans for patients with long-term diseases’, says Lillrank.

The good care of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease or asthma, consists of several parts. In order for the patient to receive the right treatment at the right time, a lot of information and arrangements are needed: appointments, the collection and interpretation of patient data, contact between various experts, medicine balance monitoring and mental support. If the patient suffers from more than one disease, the need for coordination will further increase.

‘We will first build the care management system for those suffering from one disease and then expand it to support many people in need of various social welfare and health care services’, says Paulus Torkki, Associate Professor of Healthcare Operations Management at the University of Helsinki.

Personalised treatment with mass-production efficiency

In practice, the care management system combines all the data collected from the patient's different care paths onto the same platform. It monitors the development of the patient's condition based on data, coordinates treatment appointments, and collects feedback from the patient. The platform will be built as a joint innovation of the project companies' development work and research, and the platform will be combined with devices, therapies and digital care pathways developed by the partner companies. The virtual care management system benefits actors responsible for organising services, such as hospital districts, municipalities, insurance companies and occupational health care.

The care management system is like a virtual family doctor.

Paul Lillrank

‘The virtual care management system enables personalised health care with the efficiency of mass production’, says Lillrank.

‘The objective of the project led by Aalto University is ideal for Orion's own efforts to continuously study and develop new medicines and treatment methods. The virtual care management system concept enables us to both understand and better support the treatment of chronic diseases in the future. This benefits all parties involved in the care process, especially the patient’, says Director of Digital Medicine Sammeli Liikkanen from Orion.

The project involves Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, Erasmus University Rotterdam, HUS, Orion Oyj, PatientSky Finland Oy, Klinik Healthcare Solutions Oy  and a number of other companies in the field. The total budget of the project is approximately €7.3 million. Aalto University’s share is €1.25 million. The project is part of Business Finland's Smart Life Finland programme, which aims to accelerate the utilisation of the opportunities offered by digitalisation in health care and well-being.

‘Innovation ecosystems that combine the expertise of companies and research institutes aiming for international growth, such as MASSE, are very important to the programme and play a key role in achieving its objectives’, says Kari Klossner, Programme Manager at Smart Life Finland.

Learn more about the MASSE project (Personalized Care with Mass-Production Efficiency):

Paul Lillrank
Professor
Aalto University
tel. +358 500 703 848
[email protected]

Henni Tenhunen
Project Manager
Aalto University
tel. +358 50 463 2977
[email protected]

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