Startup story: Quattro Folia
Startup story: Quattro Folia
Back in the 1990s Nokia had a health care related project called Wellmate. The project was about developing a service that helped diabetics manage their blood glucose measurements and share the results with care providers with ease. This was done by using legendary Nokia 2110 GSM phone, text messages and a television to which the phone could be connected via a cable. In the end Nokia decided to put the project on hold and instead focus on mobile phones. The idea however kept brewing in the minds of the Wellmate co-founders, waiting for the right opportunity. In 2013 the founders of Quattro Folia; Antti Kokkinen, Harri Okkonen (Wellmate co-founder and CEO of Quattro Folia) and Ari Sinisalo (Wellmate co-founder) saw that the opportunity was right for reviving the old idea.
The company´s first product focuses on diabetes self-management and telemedicine. The idea itself is simple: Develop solutions for an easier diabetes management in order to achieve and maintain a better health.
The solution was launched this March together with Quattro Folia´s subsidiary company Lääkäripalvelu Neliapila, which is a health care provider, specialized in diabetes care. According to Harri Okkonen “First customers have now been enrolled and the feedback has been encouraging. Our customers have found it very useful to be able to communicate with the specialized care provider remotely. The biggest help for the users has been the possibility to see their own health data pictured as charts and diagrams. This has made the data concrete and enabled them to learn from their own behavior.”
Harri explains further that the company has based a lot of its development on users´ feedback. In fact, in 2013 the company started a pilot, which lasted for over a year and included nearly 30 individuals with diabetes. In the beginning of the pilot colleagues and friends and friends´ friends were recruited as pilot users to get things going. Later on, when the software was developed further Quattro Folia managed to even start pilots together with the municipalities of Siuntio and Heinola.
“It all started with our first pilot user and a simple electronic note book, which practically is a basic requirement to compete in the field. Then, more features and connectivity between end user and health care professionals were added.”
When the first health care professional was hired by Neliapila, it was the beginning of setting requirements from a care provider´s point of view and start testing how pilot users would react to professional remote help for their diabetes care. Kokkinen says: “This was a critical part in order to get the professional opinion on matters. Engineers can argue day and night about some details, but at the end of the day it is the care providers opinion that counts”. Now the health care provider company consists of a diabetes nurse and two medical doctors specialized in diabetes, one of which is internationally known diabetologist Markku Saraheimo. There are also other important roles for Lääkäripalvelu Neliapila than to just give feedback to Quattro Folia software solution. It validates new healthcare service models and proofs that a new and a more efficient health care solutions are available. “And lets be honest, it works as a revenue stream”, Ari Sinisalo adds.
Quattro Folia’s Clinical Data Management Software has been CE-certified as a Class IIa medical device. The company´s quality management system has been EN ISO 13485 and EN ISO 9001 -certified, which is the foundation for developing medical device grade software solutions. Next, Quattro Folia will focus on FDA 510(k) clearance and on bringing new CE marked medical mobile applications to consumers with chronic illnesses.
It is needless to say that the national health care systems in Finland and internationally are currently in turmoil due to intolerable cost structure. This however will create opportunities for new efficient ways to provide better healthcare services. Harri is confident about the future and sees many opportunities with the current situation. One interesting area for Quattro Folia, besides Lääkäripalvelu Neliapila, is to provide medical device grade product development processes and services to partners interested in entering healthcare business. “We believe that connectivity between different health care providers and medical solutions will be more and more common and it will inevitably improve the health care industry as a whole. And we want to be a part of it.” Harri concludes.