Europe is experiencing a rise in chronic diseases – the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the region – resulting in far-reaching implications for our healthcare systems and beyond. Everyday disease management driven by the patient could support people with chronic diseases, including cancer, to stay healthy at home and be less dependent on hospital settings.
However, in the absence of easy access to a nurse or doctor, patients at home can feel isolated and lonely, often looking online for answers, which can provide unreliable information and lead to greater confusion and anxiety.
EIT Health-supported start-up, Wefight, has developed a solution. Working in collaboration with patient groups, Wefight has created a series of apps dedicated to specific chronic conditions that work as digital personal health assistants.
Named Vik, the app series provides patients with trusted information about their condition, helping to overcome anxiety and isolation by using artificial intelligence (AI) to answer their questions.
Wefight Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Benoît Brouard, first saw the need for a solution while working as a hospital pharmacist. He found that patients living with a chronic condition have specific needs and questions at different stages of their journey, and this allowed him to gain important insights into how to deliver the right information to patients at the right time.
Vik aims to do just that. In the development of each app, Wefight conducts patient focus groups to draw on their personal experiences of living with their condition. These groups help to direct which questions and answers should be included in the app, providing genuinely valuable and relevant information to aid the patient journey.
Powered by AI, Vik supports patients by educating them about their disease, starting from diagnosis, with scientifically backed information, giving them the tools to manage their condition, providing ways for patients to speak to their family and friends, and eventually, giving advice on getting back to work. Vik also helps patients manage their treatment with personalised reminders.
With the backing of EIT Health, Benoît and his business partner, Pierre Nectoux, were able to find key investment and gained access to important industry stakeholders to accelerate the development of the apps.
For its latest addition, Vik Ovary, Wefight worked with IMAGYN, a France-based patient advocacy group, to develop a solution for patients with ovarian cancer – a condition for which Europe has one of the highest prevalence rates in the world.
Wefight will continue to add to its app series with the support of EIT Health, as it prepares to launch apps for both atopic dermatitis and asthma. Meanwhile, expanding access to the app series further across Europe is also a priority, helping more patients live well with their condition.