A digital health coach improves the quality of life for rheumatism patients

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

Many myths and rumours circulate in connection with rheumatic diseases, for example: Only old people get rheumatism - Wrong! Some rheumatic diseases do indeed occur in old age. But there are other forms that affect even young people or even children. According to the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh), 1.5 million people in Germany suffer from inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Of these, about 30,000 to 40,000 children are affected. Many rheumatic diseases are not curable. So how can we take care of rheumatic diseases? This is the question that 5-HT X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma" alumni Felix Lang also asked himself when he founded the digital health startup Midaia together with Christine Peine.

Midaia redistributes resources 

"My mother is affected by a rheumatic disease herself," Felix reports. "That's why I got to know first-hand what it means to have a rheumatic disease and what implications it has for the daily lives of those affected. On the one hand, there are implications due to the symptoms, such as swollen joints. On the other hand, rheumatism is a complex disease that requires extensive medical care. Unfortunately, this is not given at present due to the small number of rheumatologists."

So the initial spark for our foundation was above all the personal connection to the disease. "We also realised that with digitalisation in the field, many resources can be better distributed and patients can be better integrated into care," Felix adds.

Accompaniment between doctor's visits

Midaia offers a digital disease management tool that personalises non-drug therapies and improves collaboration between patients and rheumatologists. The "Mida Rheumatism App" accompanies patients between doctor visits. By personalising non-drug therapies, Midaia has been shown to improve patients' quality of life. The app accompanies patients on their journey through the disease and makes them feel less alone. 

By sharing the data collected, rheumatologists can make better decisions about medical treatments, further improving treatment outcomes.  

One step ahead of the competition with concrete instructions

"There is currently no application on the market that offers a range of functions as specifically tailored to the needs of sufferers as ours. While there are several providers, both in rheumatology and in digital health apps in general, that also focus on specific symptoms, such as fatigue, depression or pain, they do so relatively superficially. However, no one offers a comparable total package with a focus on inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Midaia offers a patient-centred, holistic application that combines all these symptoms, which often also occur in inflammatory rheumatic diseases, in one application."

Unlike the competition, Midaia's health coach sets specific tasks that are individualised to each patient and their needs. For example, the patient does not only receive the recommendation to drink more water, but the concrete task to put a glass of water on the bedside table in the evening in order to have the first liquid in the morning. Mida improves disease activity and physical impairment with simple tasks and small behavioural changes.

Patients get an overview of their well-being, pain and disease activity over time. In addition, the Mida app shows how the patient's behaviours have changed in terms of diet, exercise, mental health and medication.

Backed by successful study results 

"We offer a certified medical product and accordingly also fulfil countless clinical requirements.

For example, we have already completed a successful first study, at Mannheim University Hospital, with significant improvement in medical endpoints." This study is now also published by EULAR, the "European League Against Rheumatism". "With the study results behind us, we won't have a hard time convincing potential customers to work with us," Felix says confidently.

To use the application, a diagnosis of one or more of the following diseases must be present:

- Rheumatoid arthritis

- Psoriatic arthritis

- Spondyloarthritis (SpA)

Developed by patients and rheumatologists

Since March 2021, the Mida app has already been used as part of a clinical trial. Since the end of May 2021, the app has also been freely available to the public and free of charge for all those affected. Felix gives us an insight into how Mida has been received by previous users: "Our experiences have been consistently positive. Patients like to use our app and we are proud that we can offer a lot of added value through our app. Patients approach us and want to be involved in the development."

Midaia's participation in the 5-HT X-Linker: Digital Health for Pharma. 

"I am very happy about my participation in the 5-HT X-Linker. I have already participated in another 5-HT event in 2021, Insuring Digital Health. However, the 5-HT X-Linker topped this one! There were even more suitable contacts. The speed-dating exchange was extremely fruitful.

The X-Linker format has an absolute raison d'être: 10 selected start-ups and the right pharma representatives make a match! People had a lot to say to each other and we take away important contacts from ten companies and look forward to further talks."

A look into the future 

"We focus on rheumatic diseases and so far we are actually only a product for inflammatory rheumatic diseases, so only a part of this total population of patients with rheumatic diseases. We want to be THE platform for patients with rheumatic diseases and also for rheumatologists. That is what we are working on. And for that we want and need to get into conversation with the right partners, in that respect we are very grateful to 5-HT for networking with relevant partners."

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