Masano Health breaks new ground for digital rehab

DigitalWell Ventures accelerator startup Masano Health is the first Swedish caregiver to offer digital rehab as a complete solution. Their unique concept has also been given the opportunity to influence the health care system by Swedish Innovation authority Vinnova.

When Corona struck, Masano Health saw an opportunity to develop a holistic digitalized rehab solution, based on their expertise in the field.  Their rehab solution is provided through a digital platform and meet the same requirements as traditional rehab treatments and is also influenced by recent scientific studies. Even though some digital rehab services are available in the health care system, they are used as a complement to traditional, non-digital rehab, not as a digital holistic treatment This makes Masano´s concept unique.

– We have made a digital concept from scratch. Digital rehab is our tool, not an additional service, says Susanna Freiholtz, CEO and co-founder of Masano Health.

Infuencing the healthcare system

Now Masano is a driving force influencing the healthcare system. Swedish innovation authority Vinnova have granted them funds to test their platform on patients diagnosed with ME/CFS, a neurological disease characterized by fatigue and disabilities. Together with Region Västerbotten, Masano is making an “innovation implementation” of a digital rehab clinic to address the regional needs. The project is monitored by Umeå University. The goal is to offer a more accessible, efficient, and equal rehab solution. The findings and learnings of using Masano´s platform is also to be shared within the healthcare system for the benefit of patients with similar conditions.

– The initial tests with end users have been very valuable and well recived by the patients. This work has also resulted in new insights for the service content and design, says Susanna Freiholtz.

She is convinced that digital rehab is an important alternative to traditional, non-digital rehab. Not only is it much cheaper, but it is also offering patients increased flexibility and equality, making rehab more accessible. Today in Sweden, there is no caregiver north of Stockholm offering rehab for ME/CFS.

– These patients often suffer from fatigue, and after a long trip they might even lack the strength take part in a rehab program. This is a stigma for many neurological diseases. During the pandemic, more patients diagnosed with Parkinson have taken part in a rehab program than ever before, due to the rehab services being offered digitally, says Susanna Freiholtz.

Anna H Nordström and Susanna Freiholtz talk about a new way of rehab, where the digital method offers a more holistic treatment chain for patients.

The unique niche of Masano Health sparked the interest of the DigitalWell Ventures team, and they were offered a place in the accelerator. Masano’s platform collects data about the patients’ progress, which allows automated and AI based feedback. Chat and online video meetings as a standard also make their therapists and team more available, and there are online group sessions offering a community to the patients. 

Shared data activates patients

Co-founder Anna H Nordström is a chief physician in rehab medicine. She believes that Masano’s digital platform marks a paradigm shift, since sharing health data with their patients, the patients can become more active and able to monitor their own rehab.

– The strong digitalization trend pushes more responsibilities towards the patients, but then we are also obliged to give them tools that allows them to take responsibility, says Anna H Nordström.

In her opinion,  the main benefit for the patients is the stronger relationships and increased support that Masano offers, compared to traditional rehab.

– It’s very common that patients are given the same rehab program year after year – a program that they might not even follow.  Masano provides much better tools to follow up and adjust the rehab programs. And if the rehab is successful this means that the consumption of care will drop. We can also use our online material again and again and that will really impact the costs for the health care system.

See great value in accelerator programme

Despite the team behind Masano being a team with lots of experience within both rehab and the public sector, they highly value the support DigitalWell Ventures has offered, when bringing a new concept to market.

– When I left my old job in a rehab clinic, I promised myself never to work with public procurement again but working with innovation in the public sector is actually ten times harder. The support of DigitalWell Ventures is invaluable in that sense, says Susanna Freiholtz.

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Det regionala projektet DigitalWell finansieras av Europeiska Unionen – Europiska regionala utvecklingsfonden. Syftet med DigitalWell är att vi tillsammans ska utveckla digitala lösningar för behov inom välfärden med användarens egenförmåga i fokus.