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My wife’s cancer showed the need to give patients control

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There are few experiences in life more daunting than facing a cancer diagnosis.

In addition to the devastating contemplation of whether you or a loved one will survive, there is an urgent need to learn methods of managing your condition to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

When Paul Landau’s wife Lucy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015, days before she gave birth to their second child, he watched her go through six months of grueling chemotherapy, consume thousands of pills, and struggle with neutropenic infections and endless blood transfusions, biopsies, scans and appointments.

“It was my first exposure to cancer. Most people have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer through friends or family, “he tells TechBlast.

“What really struck me was how much there is to manage when you are going through the treatment. With any disease, you have to lift the learning curve so quickly that you become an expert in a microcosm of that disease you are going through.

“This, coupled with how much responsibility is placed on that person when they are at home for doing what might be a rather clinical judgment often, showed me what an important opportunity there was to create something to help people overcome that situation.” .

He was struck by his wife’s determination to avoid being a nuisance. “She was so tired of being sick that we regularly held debates about whether she really should let her nurses know about the side effects she was suffering, because she didn’t want to go back to the hospital for more stimulation,” she writes on the website. Careologythe startup he was going to build that came in second in our recent sister publication BusinessCloud’s Health technology 50 classification.

He adds: “We learned very quickly that patients often make mistakes. They wait to answer the phone to report a side effect and things that could have been nipped in the bud if the team had been informed earlier became more complicated and difficult to deal with. “

After a relapse in 2019, Lucy has been cancer free for two years.

Founding Careology

While helping his wife, Paul walked out of the wearable tech company he had founded and led for 11 years – Fitbug was acquired by an Australian company for its IP and has begun to explore how to leverage its background in consumer technology to help people on their cancer journey.

“We wanted to create something that was really effective in helping that person feel much more confident and in control during treatment,” she says. “If we could create a tool to leave someone better equipped to handle all of this feeling safe and connected, it was a really big win for me.

“Once Lucy finished her treatment, I drank as many cups of coffee as possible with the team who actually treated her to determine if this would make sense. I spoke to doctors, counselors, nurses and other patients. to understand if it was a feasible activity and something that would be useful.

“After a few months, it became very clear that yes, there was definitely a gap in the market. I started putting together a small clinical consulting group and we started building the initial conceptual screens to bring it to life. “

Careology

Paul is keen to emphasize the technical rigor behind the app. “People can find great support within online groups, but if you really need solid health advice, it needs to be supported in a clinical sense,” he explains.

For me, the sweet spot was making the UI really easy to use, eye-catching, and useful, while ensuring that technical rigor under the hood.

“The principle behind it here is how do we combine the best of both worlds between the consumer HealthTech and MedTech, which are quite different disciplines? This is absolutely fundamental “.

Careology connects to wearable devices, such as smartwatches, allowing you to track changes in a person’s physical condition in real time. It also helps them keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings, track side effects, medications, and appointments.

For physicians, it takes information from patients and presents it in a “virtual ward”, providing a rich and holistic overview of all those in their care.

The London-based startup, which has been backed by angels to date and is looking to garner a Series A round this year, licenses its software-as-a-service platform to healthcare professionals. He has been collaborating for more than a year with Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare, while in 2022 he announced a strategic partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support is a pilot project with another major charity, Nuffield Health, at its Derby hospital.

HealthTech 50 – The UK’s Most Innovative Health Technology Creators for 2021

“Once a provider joins, it becomes a core part of their platform,” says Paul.

We have really good feedback from the first releases we’ve had. Now it’s about accelerating that growth across the NHS, while we’re also getting many approaches now internationally. “

COVID impact

There are three million people living with cancer in the UK – defined as someone who has been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life – and this figure is projected to reach four million by 2030.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact: A recent report from the National Audit Office estimates that up to 740,000 people in England with potential cancer symptoms who should have been referred urgently by primary care physicians from the first block may have been “lost”.

“Ccancer services have been hit hard by COVID, “reflects Paul.” We’ve all read about the cancer backlog: COVID has been a real catalyst for digital tools and the need to embrace digital to help build capacity in the system “.

Careology’s angel investors include President Carl Uminski, CEO of Somo Global and Hubble’s NED.

Is there a difference between how he approached building his HealthTech and wearable tech company FitBug?

“I created a more senior team faster,” he says. “Ideally, you want to hire people who are better than you – you need to surround yourself with people who are really smart and know you aren’t.”

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My wife’s cancer showed the need to give patients control

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