Estonian Digital Health Series: Cognuse Interview | Company Connecting

Category: Blog

By Janice


Cognuse's mission is to help patients recovering from critical illness and eveyone in their care loop, including clinicians, caregivers and the patient’s families. We interviewed Andres Mellik the CEO and founder of Cognuse.

Hi Andres, where did the motivation behind Cognuse come from and what is your mission as a Company?

Our mission is to help patients recovering from critical illness and eveyone in their care loop, including clinicians, caregivers and the patient’s families. The motivation has been spurred both by witnessing the current shortfalls with close relatives in the past and the continuous feedback from all involved parties, highlighting the challenges and creating the canvas for simple and interconnected solutions.

Who is involved in Cognuse, and what are their backgrounds?

Our core team is comprised of experienced professionals both from the healthcare and technology domains enabling us to mix digital technologies with deep understanding of the clinical workflows and empathy, which are all equally important building blocks of an effective digital health solution. While the executive positions bring at least 15 years of domain experience in software development, systems engineering, instructional design and serious gaming - we also place a lot of trust and responsbility on our youngest team members, often fresh graduates from health and technology management curriculums.

Cognuse is designed to help patients transition from hospital care to home care: from Intensive Care, to Acute, to Subacute, to Home. Can software really help people with cognitive injuries in their recovery?
While software alone cannot carry the heavy burden required to effectively bring these patients back to normal quality of life, there is a lot of evidence that it can help to drive the transition in the cognitive, physical and behavioural perspectives.

We believe in enforcing more health-conscious behaviour as early as possible. The key is to provide these patients and their loved ones with help to avoid re-admissions and repetitive strokes, which significantly increases the mortality rates.
From a technical perspective, our solutions begin to support everyone in the care loop from Day 1 at the intensive care unit and provide long term support all the way to years of speech therapy support, as is the case with many stroke patients with aphasia as a co-morbidity

Cognuse uses an app-platform to help at each of the four stages of care listed above, how did you develop the different stages, and how much continuation is there between these stages, from ICU to home?

Critical care is one of the most multidisciplinary medical or health domains out there, which defines the comprehensive scope that we have evolved into with years of development.

There is a lot of continuity between these stages and while the platform looks and feels the same the content delivered to the patients, their families and the clinicians changes dynamically based on the care phase. We are constantly working to improve performance in all of these stages and are collaborating with world class institutions in critical care, rehabilitation and health technology so support our vision of a true care continuum of critical conditions.

Cognuse have already completed four clinical studies, with a fifth currently in progress. What has the feedback been like so far?

Both from medical professionals and patients with cognitive issues themselves. As with research in general we have shown with our clinical and feasibility studies both near 100% adoptance and satisfaction as well as relatively neutral results in other aspects. A driving principle for us remains the fact that if the digital intervention or support action is clinically equivalent to the current best practice but brings substantial improvements in logistics or cost, then we have already reached our goals. Any measurable and evidence-based improvements to clinical outcomes or workflow improvements really are a bonus for everone.

In the UK currently there is lots of talk about how our healthcare facilities are stretched. Do you see the at-home aspect of Cognuse’s rehabilitation provision as a means of offsetting strain on hospitals and national health care facilities?
Definitely and we strive to prove this through diligent ROI analysis working both with large health systems, insurance companies and single-payer systems, such as we have in Estonia.

What is next for Cognuse in 2017?

In 2017 we will continue to innovate in the hospital digital health space, focusing more on the benefits also for the clinical staff, who are always our primary champions. We also have some developments in the professional consumer space, which we intend to launch early fall in 2017.

What is the digital health industry like in Estonia? How much support is there for this burgeoning technology from government?

2015-2017 have been quite monumental for the Estonian digital and e-health industries as we have been able to drive initiatives for true interoperability and 3rd party access to health records, to develop and disseminate completely novel services from neurology to dermatology, from mid-wife services to medication adherence and mobile HIV-screening.

There is now good, demonstrated support from both the government as well as the Estonian Healthtech Cluster, an NGO bringing together hospitals, startups, health IT companies, academics in Estonia. The collaborations so far have been on a completely new level with a number of even more exciting developments in the near term pipeline.

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Estonian Digital Health Series: Cognuse first published on Company Connecting February 2017
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