2013 marked the ‘app debut’ of Swedish Care International (SCI), a renowned operation in Swedish elderly and dementia care training, when they released their first mobile application Dementia Support. Since then, SCI has successfully launched two more apps Elderly Support and Memory Box on iOS and Android, and there are more to come.
Today we talked with Ludvig Mörnesten – SCI’s New Ventures Manager on the organization’s digital path and what that entails for a social enterprise in Sweden.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you joined SCI?
My name is Ludvig Mörnesten and I’m in charge of developing all of our projects here at SCI.
I’ve been here for about four years now since we did the first app in 2013, basically since the company was quite new. I think we’ve been for around two years when I joined the team.
What was the state of the organization when you started? How has it changed since then?
When I started we were a young company and focus primarily on what’s still our core business, which is education, but at the time the digital part was very small. Today we also have online training and e-learning system, and of course the applications that we did, they’re basically tools to help family, patients, professional and unskilled caregivers. When I started we have already identified the need for this kind of products, but haven’t really gotten there yet.
To this day, if you look at the head count of people using our products compared to face-to-face, the digital is 10x times the amount in a year. It’s hard to tell, but efforts-wise, the digital projects are taking up 50% of all SCI activities, if you look at what we do.
What is your main user demographics to this point?
In general terms, the demographics interested in this are women over 55. And that’s our target group, but when we did our latest analysis a few months ago, we actually saw that, yes women over 50 are still the largest set of user, but we also have a really big set of between 18 and 30. And that was quite equal in terms of gender. Those are the two target groups and user groups to be honest.
What is the biggest difficulty reaching such a broad target group?
The biggest challenge is that, we are a company that does a lot of things, and we don’t have the budget to do big marketing campaign. All of our tools are free, which means we don’t make any money out of it.
“We use the apps to build a market for itself, because it’s part of our idea to do free of charge things for caregivers.”
Following that, how would you assess the Sweden’s eHealth industry at the moment? What are the challenges?
I would say, there are a lot of interesting projects but the industry is still a bit young, not really defined yet. This is Sweden when it comes to healthcare, it’s very defined by what the government is doing, and not just the government in general but the local government.
“We have great healthcare system in many ways, but it’s extremely complex when it comes to regulation, when it comes to who’s paying for what.”
So that has shaped the eHealth community a little bit. But I think there are a lot of people who are ready to go when there’s some kind of regulation change, because there has to be regulation change.
Lastly, what can we expect from SCI in 2017?
We are working on an exciting project, which is in mHealth that we develop with a separate company, we call it Geras Solution. That is, I dare say, the first remote diagnostic tool for dementia. Dementia diagnosis is a very complex procedure, it includes a lot of people and tests and interviews in order to tell that, yes this person is suffering from the disease. Sweden has a great system compared to many countries but it’s a long process, the average person’s diagnostic period is 48 days. So we develop Geras to do that from home. With that tool you can sit in your couch and do the whole process that normally would take at least 30 days to do.
“Within 5 years, half of the doctor visits will be done from home, and it’ll be much cheaper and more efficient”.
Our yearly focus is the launch of Geras application in Sweden and hopefully in Japan or other country in Asia. I think we will have a makeover to the Memory Box app, and that’s our plan.