Millions of Swedes suffer from IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. To ease the pressure on healthcare during the corona crisis, Tummy Lab, a part of Sahlgrenska Science Park’s community, gives free access to their digital IBS-school.
“The Swedish healthcare system is facing a great challenge, we want to do what we can to help”, says Anders Elfving, CEO at Tummy Lab.
Many initiatives are being taken to support healthcare in the wake of the corona crisis. Anders Elfving and his colleagues also wanted to make a contribution and decided to give free access to Tummy Lab, a digital tool for patients who suffer from IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, to ease the pressure on healthcare during these hard times.
“The healthcare system is facing a great challenge and we want to do what we can to help. Also, many patients avoid seeking health care right now out of fear of the coronavirus – but the needs for treatment remain”, says Anders Elfving, CEO at Tummy Lab.
Anders Elfving was a successful IT-entrepreneur when he started experiencing IBS-symptoms in 2013. He soon noticed that even though IBS is one of the most common causes to seek medical care, the way to treat it is complex and many with the diagnose are experimenting on their own to find ways to relieve the symptoms, but keep seeking care since their symptoms persist.
“Many patients with IBS lack a basic understanding of the disorder. IBS is a benign but troublesome condition that is usually affected by diet and lifestyle. This means you need specific knowledge to understand, and improve, your situation. It has traditionally been very expensive and time-consuming for the healthcare system to provide adequate care to these patients”, says Anders Elfving
Anders Elfving switched focus from his ongoing career to use his knowledge of building user-friendly apps to create a digital tool that could help IBS patients. In collaboration with leading clinicians and researchers, the app Tummy Lab was created. It includes a digital diary for lifestyle mapping as well as a six weeks education program, a digital IBS-school. The goal is to give IBS-patients more knowledge about the disorder and how to improve it; which is usually connected to a change in diet, more exercise or reduced stress. The program is prescribed by a physician and carried out in the patient’s home. The idea is to support the patient to enable good self-care as well as to provide relevant data back to the treating doctor.
“Our goal is to train the patient in the effective management of their IBS-disorder, so they learn how to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. For doctors this is a great way to give their patients the right tools to tackle the disorder, and to make sure they comply with patient information guidelines”, says Anders Elfving.
By providing this knowledge digitally, Anders Elfving and his colleagues hope to reach out to more patients.
“A few hospitals in the country provide high-quality IBS-schools, but the queues are generally long, and very few patients get the chance to attend. We have collaborated with some of the leading clinicians from these schools, to reach the hundreds of thousands of Swedes that are currently suffering unnecessarily.”, says Anders Elfving.