Interview: Prof. Daan Dohmen, founder of Luscii Healthtech

Covid has been good for Dutch digital health player, Luscii, which creates virtual wards at home, keeping patients out of hospital. Its platform has processed almost 25 million registrations for both chronic conditions, and patients undergoing episodic care. Active in the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland and several African countries, it is now moving to Germany.

Click here to Luscii’s profile in HBI Intelligence and here to see our recently updated digital health/telehealth report.

Dohmen tells HBI it is now at breakeven in the Netherlands and expects to become cash flow positive for all its activities next year. The big breakthrough is the ability to enable doctors and nurses to create their own patient pathways and sell them via the Luscii library.

Luscii enables patients to be monitored at home on virtual wards. The app connects patients to measurement devices – blood pressure, saturation levels etc – and instructs them on what to do. Algorithms detect whether the patient is at risk. If they are, it alerts their nurse or doctor, or automatically coaches them, perhaps by sending videos, self-care advice or motivational messages.

Dohmen says workflow AI has revolutionised the business: “In Amsterdam OLVG hospital had a bank of 50 doctors using Luscii to monitor 20,000 at home patients for Covid in March 2020. After our algorithms were configured using collected data, we were able to scale up to 200,000 patients monitored by only eight doctors.”

But the big breakthrough is the Luscii library which enables medical professionals to create their own pathways which they can then sell to others with 70% of the revenue going back to the professional or their employer. “We had a doctor in Utrecht who came up with pathways for difficult pregnancies such as pre-eclampsia or hypertension. It is now running in 12 hospitals, and she has hired a PhD on the proceeds to develop it further! Medical professionals become co-owners. That is our vision coming to life.”

He says the other breakthrough has been making Luscii a part of the care continuum. “It is prescribed by your doctor or nurse as part of the treatment.

“This makes an enormous difference to compliance levels. It only works if digital becomes part of your day-to-day care. My PhD was in compliance. If you have a heart problem and your cardiologist instructs you to use Luscii you probably will!”

He is making some big claims for the product. A recent Dutch study showed that every €1 spent on Luscii saved €8 in hospital costs by eliminating unnecessary tests and visits. He also says another Dutch hospital has saved 250 nursing days in a month by using the app. He explains: “We have hospitals which have 3-4 virtual wards each with 20-30 patients on them.” In another case he says that Covid patients could be discharged 6-11 days earlier.

He says medical outcomes are the same on the virtual wards, although patients need an informal caregiver and need web access to devices.

Dohmen says that how Luscii is used varies country-by-country. “In Ghana big city hospitals are using it to reach out to villagers who otherwise would get no access. In the UK you need to contract with the NHS which we did last year, in Ireland you contract with GPs.”

Dohmen says he struck lucky with the fast development of Luscii: “In 2018 we split off Luscii from FocusCura, the elder care device monitoring arm which was later sold to Assa Abloy, the Swedish lock and aging technology company. Luscii brought in Omron as a minority shareholder and we’ve invested in developing our Luscii Library for doctors.” He says he was going to launch that app library at a conference in March 2020. “The conference got cancelled but Covid became the first monitoring program in our app library. Now there are over 40 disease areas available.”  He remains the majority shareholder of Luscii, together with theirs co-founders Erik Kaufman, Ronald Scheffer and Dr. Joris Janssen.

The aim now is to build out the app library and to expand geographically. ‘When we reach breakeven next year we might do another funding round.”

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