Presenting Kuopio Health members: Promoting brain and memory health with Wellpro mobile applications
Smart technology supports a healthy memory
Brain and memory health is one of the biggest health challenges of our time, both in Finland and globally. Each year, over 13,000 people in Finland are diagnosed with a memory disorder. This problem applies to both older people and people of working age who are also affected. Indeed, in its national memory programme, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health reported that influencing growing service needs also requires preventive measures related to brain health.
Wellpro Impact Solutions Oy is a company founded in 2021. It all began with a genuine need to develop better and more effective solutions to memory health. In his doctoral research, Juho Strömmer, PhD, had previously come to the conclusion that there are no tools available for screening for the risk factors related to brain overload and memory. Juha already knew Joni Borgströn, a data analyst, with whom he began to seek a solution to this problem. They started to look for partners, which resulted in Juha Tenhunen joining their forces with his strong experience in service design and remote doctor appointment service development. The team was later joined by the company’s now-CEO, Petteri Sveins, who had previously worked as a specialist at the central bank of the United States, the United Nations and ministries in international tasks. He has been granted a state prize, the Terve-Sos diploma and the Social Worker of the Year Award.
– The company’s starting point is that we really want to do something good in this world. That has also been a driving force during my whole career and the reason why I became involved in Wellpro Oy. We’ve all been a part of many things and I’ve also contributed to developing new methods around the world, with the aim of helping people. We wish to have a wide-reaching effect on people’s wellbeing and also hope that all Finns will also gain access to these tools. The goal is to also be able to offer more good years to older people, explains Petteri Sveins, the company’s CEO.
Screening, monitoring and activation
Together, the team began to develop a tool that can screen for the risk factors of memory health, but they also wanted to provide measures that both maintain and promote brain health. This resulted in the Myseula product family. The product family includes two tailored screening methods (MySeula Screening, Myseula Active) and an activation programme (Myseula BitHabit). The municipality of Vihti participated in the piloting stage, purchasing the application for all its employees aged over 55. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the University of Eastern Finland also became involved in an early stage.
– The Myseula screening method enables screening for risk factors and monitoring the situation, but our BitHabit application offers small things that users can do on a daily basis. The mindset we should have, also more broadly in healthcare, is that it is important to encourage people to take care of themselves, as there is real potential there. These problems are not recognised early enough. People get their memory examined 15 years too late. If you intervene in the problems sufficiently early, you can still affect them, Petteri explains.
Users are enthusiastic to participate
Wellpro aims to make things easier. It only takes around five minutes to fill out the MySeula survey. By filling out the survey, respondents get a MySeula index and the Mieli (Mind), Liike (Physical Activity), Minä (Myself) and Sosiaalisus (Social Life) Indexes. The results show what the user should pay attention to, for example, related to recovery or physical activity.
– In other applications, you typically have to know some figures in advance, such as your body mass index, cholesterol level or blood pressure, but you won’t need them with this application. This is why users like using the tool. They also get instant feedback. This also makes the application a cost-effective method for screening even larger population groups.
– Test marketing has also been carried out in the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden. As a result, 70% of the users completed the screening. The marketing campaign took place on Facebook and the oldest person filling out the survey on a mobile device was 93 years old, Petteri points out.
Not just for seniors
The application also produces a huge amount of data, which can be sold and offered to various parties, for instance, to support decision-making. Wellpro also produces data analytics and impact assessment on social and healthcare and wellbeing services.
– It is also important to know how many people are affected by these risks. In connection with the test marketing, we realised that the biggest risks are found in the age groups of +45- and +55-year-olds, for whom no previous measures have been targeted. The service has no age limit. At least based on the pilot testing, people have become genuinely more active when they’ve been informed about what affects the health of their brain and memory and what they can do to promote their health.
Ecosystem – accomplishing more together
When the company was collaborating with the University of Eastern Finland, the name Kuopio Health also came up. The membership was a natural step as a part of a joint (Sitra) project, which was looking to find a concrete tool for monitoring and activating the health of the brain and memory.
– I must say that it’s great that we’ve been able to get involved and collaborate with Kuopio Health. Kuopio is at the top of the world in the field of memory and brain health. There is an immense amount of expertise in neurology and everyone knows everyone, which is great for cooperation. I expect this collaboration and the joint project to produce such great results that we’ll be able to scale them to Finland as a whole and all the wellbeing services counties, Petteri summarises.