29th July 2022
The Polish start-up developing a platform for permanent medical care will engage general practitioners (GPs) and patients to design and test an app for the early diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Doctor.One, the winner of the competition, will receive a grant for developing and implementing a pilot solution, which may be an opportunity for thousands of patients with CKD. This is the first initiative of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (WHIH).
More than 4 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Poland , of which only 200,000 are already diagnosed . It is the second most common chronic disease in the country and, if left untreated, can even lead to kidney failure. The winning team implementing the project will receive a grant of PLN 400,000 from the initiator and funder of the competition, AstraZeneca, as well as consultancy support from public institutions and EIT Health InnoStars. The project will last around 12 months.
-Nephrohero is a demonstration of how the open innovation model can work in practice and has the potential to provide better care for patients. As an engaged partner of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub, we are eager to see the scalability potential of such solutions and other similar initiatives that strengthen collaborations between public and private sectors – mentioned Balázs Fürjes, Managing Director of EIT Health InnoStars.
– The winning project fits in with one of the main priorities of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub, which is to use digital health e-services to optimise patient treatment. Implementing practical system solutions to improve the diagnostic process, especially in primary care facilities, can significantly change the quality of the services provided – says Radosław Sierpiński, President of the Medical Research Agency, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for the development of the biotechnology sector and Poland’s independence in the field of blood products.
Doctor.One, working in a consortium, plans to engage general practitioners (GPs) and nephrology specialists to design a model of personalised, continuous care for people at risk or early stage of CKD and test it on a group of 100 patients. Each project participant will receive a comprehensive health review at the outset, including a package of tests agreed with the medical team. They will receive ongoing care within the app, led by their trusted doctor. They will also have access to telemedicine and consultations if needed. After nine months of care, the patient will receive a health check and follow-up. Based on the pilot, assumptions and recommendations for further actions and implementing this approach to primary care in Poland will be developed.
– We hope that the winning project, thanks to our support, will be widely used in medical care, thus increasing access to proper and early diagnosis for millions of Poles. The first results and recommendations are expected in autumn 2023, although in the meantime, we will actively support the winning team. We are delighted that we launched the first competition of its kind within the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub and maybe pave the way for other similar projects. The WHIH is an excellent example of how, through public-private cooperation, we can work to improve the Polish healthcare system – emphasised Wiktor Janicki, CEO of AstraZeneca Pharma Poland, the initiator and funder of the competition.
The evaluation of the applications to the first Warsaw Health Innovation Hub competition took place in expert panels composed of representatives of EIT Health and Astra Zeneca with the support of public institutions, such as the Medical Research Agency, the National Health Fund, the e-Health Centre, the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products or the Patent Office. The evaluation was focused on the criterion of innovativeness, quality of patient care offered, and the feasibility of conducting a pilot within 12 months.
– Our project is to bring people at risk and in the early stages of CKD under the personalised, direct and continuous care of a doctor who knows the patient. Such a model of care will allow doctors to support patients in making lifestyle changes on an ongoing basis and to intervene medically if necessary quickly. We believe that in this way, medics can slow down the progression of the disease – says Tomasz Rudolf, co-founder and president of Doctor.One. As he points out, today’s model of medical care is based on reactive, patient-initiated medical appointments, between which patients are often left with questions and challenges about their disease or attempts to change their lifestyle. – Haphazard consultations with other physicians disrupt the continuity of care and make it difficult for specialists to proactively manage patients with CKD and monitor the effects of therapy. Our proposal can solve this problem. We are delighted that by winning the competition, we will be able to make it happen – he adds.
In addition to Doctor.One, the other consortium partners are the ALAB laboratory and the Value-Based Healthcare Centre at Łazarski University. AstraZeneca is the funder of the grant. The operator of the competition and the WHIH-Strategic Partners platform is EIT Health InnoStars, the largest partner organisation in the medical and healthcare innovation field in Europe.
More information on the competition can be found on the website #Nephrohero.
EIT Health InnoStars supports Strategic Partners of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub, including IQVIA, Microsoft, AstraZeneca, Polpharma and Roche.
 MAHTA Sp. z o.o. Access to nephrological services in Poland, 2019.