Huoleti: Healthcare application seeks out peer support

The health technology startup, Huoleti Oy, has developed a healthcare application aimed at international markets. A Tekes innovation voucher was used to buy expert help for the development of the application. The service brings together people in need of help and those who provide it. Watson cognitive computing is bringing a unique databank to the application.

People want to be of help. So believe Carita Savin and Maria Lipsonen. Those who need help often fail to meet with those who can provide it: helpers often have trouble finding channels through which to provide assistance. On the other hand, someone in need of help may not be able to ask for it.

The Huoleti team, i.e. Savin and Lipsonen, has solved this problem.

"Our Huoleti application brings together people and information. We have called this assistance concept ‘modern communitarianism’. We aim to ensure that helping and requesting help become part of everyday life," says Savin.

The Huoleti application, which includes an innovative assistance concept, provides targeted peer support for people who are seriously ill. Controlled by mobile phone, tablet or another terminal device, Huoleti seeks out people in a similar situation to join the peer support network for service users.

"People have migrated from peer support organisations to the social media. However, thousands of people can be involved in a single conversation. Groups are so brimming with information that essential information is lost. It can also be difficult to find a suitable discussion partner. The Huoleti service brings people together who are in the same situation in life," says Lipsonen.

Service prototype for cancer patients

The Huoleti team is developing its first product for cancer patients, but intends to extend the target group to other serious illnesses. A version for the elderly is also under development.

Savin says that a student project provided the idea for the service. We decided to continue with the Huoleti project when the application won the Kertomalla Paranee application competition for startups and other companies. There was demand for the service.

Savin contacted Tekes at an early stage. A Tekes innovation voucher was used to purchase the backend component of this new innovative product from Fast Monkeys Oy. A technical solution was obtained for the tried and tested product and the end result was almost ready to pilot. A few features had to be added for the pilot, in order to improve the user experience. If it succeeds, the product being developed will have broad social impacts in Finland and internationally. 

It is now being developed via the FinnMed start-up community in the Tampere Health HUB, which brings together health sector actors. Maria Lipsonen also joined the team in Tampere. A TREDEA (Tampere Region Economic Development Agency) innovation voucher was used to purchase the front-end component from Haltu Oy

Lipsonen has studied health technology and has commercial experience of digital health care services. For her part, Savin has long experience of consulting in the ICT sector, including the development of electronic health care services.

IBM Watson Health cognitive computing added to application

One of the objectives of the Huoleti service is to make IBM Watson Health cognitive computing part of the application. This will enable the user to access customised, relevant data and turn the application into an enormous databank.

Tekes encouraged the Huoleti team to join with Watson.

“Tekes informed us about Watson and provided consultation on the start-up perspective,” comments Lipsonen.

Tekes also gave us advice on the team’s financial negotiations.

"Business development support is invaluable. We were given a perspective on what issues we should take into account and at what stage. The fact that we aim to take the Huoleti service into export markets makes the role of, and help provided by, Tekes even more important," says Lipsonen.

The team is focusing on the United States first. Following that, the aim is to conquer the European health care application markets.

However, before then the first finished product must be introduced on the Finnish markets, for which a pilot will begin in February 2017. Huoleti for consumers will be launched in the same year.

"The goal is to have a finished product by around November or December," says Savin.

For further information, please contact

Carita Savin
Huoleti team
Tel. +358 40 562 1700
carita (at) huoleti.fi 

Maria Lipsonen
Huoleti team
Tel. +358 50 541 0780
maria (at) huoleti.fi

Text: Elina Kirvesniemi / Kaiku Helsinki
Photo: Huoleti team 

Eero Lukin