Collaborating on patient self-monitoring

Patients report their own symptoms in a new project at Ahus, in which the university hospital collaborates with Roche and Kaiku Health.

A new project with 15 lung cancer patients has started this fall at Akershus University Hospital (Ahus), one of Norway’s largest hospitals, just outside of Oslo. Both the patients and the hospital staff are testing a new digital patient monitoring and management solution from the Finnish health technology company Kaiku Health, where the patients themselves are to report their symptoms and health conditions.

The project is a successful collaboration between patients and hospital staff at Ahus, the company Roche, and Kaiku Health. They are all members of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Satisfied patients

“So far we have received almost only positive user experiences. Patients are only asked to log symptoms they have had and do not have to consider all kinds of possible symptoms they might have. That helps them and our impression is that the patients are satisfied with the self-logging tool we are testing,” said Anne Edvardsen, Project Leader and Department Leader at the Lung Department at Ahus.

Anne Edvardsen. Photo: Ahus

Anne Edvardsen. Photo: Ahus

Kaiku Health is a digital health interventions platform that provides patient-reported outcomes, monitoring, and intelligent symptom tracking. Currently, it is used in more than 75 clinics in Europe and America, helping clinicians provide optimized care with early interventions and personalized patient support.

Digital symptom management

“Digital symptom management is shown to improve patients’ overall survival and quality of life. While cancer immunotherapy has been shown to advance treatment outcomes of for example lung cancer patients, it has also introduced a new kind of safety profile. Companion digital health solutions can optimize symptom management and timely education for patients. In addition, clinics benefit from the use of the service, as digital therapy support can optimize the use of healthcare resources as well as processes in the daily clinic routine,” said Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward, Global Strategic Sales Manager in Kaiku Health.

Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward. Photo: Kaiku Health/ Kajsas foto

Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward. Photo: Kaiku Health/ Kajsas foto

In Nordlandssykehuset, a smaller hospital in the north of Norway, a similar digital patient monitoring, also from Kaiku, is already a part of the regular patient treatment.

“By providing digital symptom management along with the capture and analysis of real-world data, Kaiku Health paves way for more personalised and value-based healthcare,” said Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward.

Testing in several stages

Roche aims to deliver their digital patient monitoring and management solutions in an open ecosystem approach in collaboration with various industry partners and solution providers, such as Kaiku Health, and has done a prior pilot project with Kaiku Health in Germany, Finland, and Switzerland.

The results from this first pilot were published in Journal of Medical Internet Research in December last year and show a high user satisfaction and improved clinical care besides other benefits and a few challenges. You can read the article here.

“With our current collaboration with Ahus, Roche aims to deliver industry-leading Digital Patient Monitoring and Management solutions that improve outcomes that matter to patients, such as quality of life and overall survival, for individuals receiving therapy for advanced or metastasized cancers. This can be achieved by empowering patients to continuously report symptoms from any location using mobile solutions and enabling healthcare professionals to intervene early before symptoms worsen, tailor care plans, and make effective treatment decisions. By using solutions that are seamlessly integrated into clinical care, it would also optimise healthcare resource utilization. In addition, we’re also exploring user experience of the solution alongside understanding how we can support broad adoption and adherence to the solutions,” said Fabienne O. Villars, Country Medical Manager for Lung in Roche Norway, and adds that it is also an important project to explore local requirements and regulatory needs.

Woman in white jacket looking into camera

Fabienne O. Villars. Photo: Roche

The current project is named KAISER and will run until March 2022.

Better equipped to master symptoms

“An advantage is that we can monitor the patients during the entire treatment and systemize our experiences. This kind of monitoring of symptoms through digital platforms is important to increase the understanding the patients have of their own health. When they participate in monitoring their own symptoms and changes in symptoms, they are better equipped to master their symptoms, with assistance by healthcare professionals,” said Anne Edvardsen.

The patients can use the tool as a type of diary for symptoms from cancer treatment, like for example fatigue, and the care team can look for patterns to check if treatments are working well. The hospital staff is learning how to react to the reports and whether they should follow up with the patients more closely based on the reported symptoms.

Useful in the future

“It has been a good collaboration where everyone has contributed to solving this puzzle, which takes a lot of effort ensuring privacy and data security in a large hospital like Ahus,” said Anne Edvardsen.

“The work Ahus has done in collaboration with us will become useful in the future for sure –for other hospitals, companies, and for the patients themselves,” said Villars.

Read more

Inven2 has contributed to initiating the project in Norway and has written about it in Norwegian. Read the Norwegian article here:

Cluster Collaborations

In this article series, called Cluster Collaborations, we want to highlight the fruitful collaborations in the cluster, underlining the very essence of what Oslo Cancer Cluster is all about, from cancer research to cure.

Man on podium talking with sticker saying "cluster collaborations"

The Future of Cancer Treatment

What is the The Future of Cancer Treatment all about?

The seminar series The Future of Cancer Treatment (Fremtidens kreftbehandling in Norwegian) usually has two yearly events, always about new possibilities in cancer treatments, and how Norway can be better equipped to keep up with the rapid developments in precision medicine.

It started as a political meeting in 2015, during a political festival in the southern Norwegian town Arendal. The last seminar was also held in Arendal, 18 August 2021.

You can watch the latest Arendal-event on our YouTube channel: 

A collective effort

The series is a collaboration between Oslo Cancer Cluster, Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI), the Norwegian Cancer Society (Kreftforeningen), and the three pharmaceutical companies MSD, AstraZeneca, and Janssen.

Why have the same six partners worked together on the same subject for six years? Part of the answer is the collaboration itself.

The collective effort of hosting these seminars has value to everyone involved. For Oslo Cancer Cluster, facilitating collaborations between members is one of our main functions as a research and industry cluster. In addition, we have a role as a changemaker, in which we aim to improve the framework conditions for cancer innovations in the Norwegian health industry and raising expertise. The Future of Cancer Treatment allows the cluster to act as a changemaker and bring members with common goals together.

At the forefront of cancer care

Behind each seminar, there is of course a great deal of planning. Mattis Dahl Åmotsbakken, Associate Director Policy and Communications at MSD Norway, is one of the permanent members of the planning group, together with the other voices quoted in this article.

“The collaboration between this truly cross-functional team ensures innovative ideas that always are at the forefront of cancer care, constructive exchange and learning for everyone involved, as well as a solid output that both attracts and generates interest among a broad variety of stakeholders,” said Åmotsbakken.

He added that a mature cluster is a well-fitted frame for these kinds of collaborations.

“The fact that Oslo Cancer Cluster is a well-established and experienced cluster ensures efficiency, continuous and profound insights into healthcare policies and a solid perception among stakeholders that output from Oslo Cancer Cluster’s collaborative activities is of high quality and solution minded. The cluster’s accumulated experience and position in the cancer care domain coupled with the continuous generation of innovative ideas make the cluster a unique arena for collaboration and development of actionable solutions to further ameliorate the Norwegian health care system,” said Åmotsbakken.

The common interest

Hege Edvardsen, Senior Advisor at LMI, underlines the variety of audiences the seminars are designed to reach.

“This meeting series is arranged by partners deeply invested in bringing the future of cancer therapies to Norwegian patients, specifically through clinical studies, but also in general. The collaboration ensures that we are looking at this issue from all perspectives, since the meetings are targeted to researchers, clinicians, politicians and government bodies, and also to patients and their next of kin,” said Edvardsen, and added:

“The partnership behind this meeting series is in itself an example of how private-public partnerships can help us challenge each other, build culture and collaboration and together press forward a topic of common interest.”

Astra Zeneca is the second industry partner in the series, and Line Walen, Head of Governmental Affairs at AstraZeneca Norway, has been part of the meeting series planning group for a couple of years.

“The group has a common interest in making effective treatments available for patients and to put focus on obstacles, and suggestions for solutions. It is great to come together among patient organisations, clusters and companies to work towards a common goal on important topics. We hope this seminar series will continue in the years to come, and that this will be a good contribution to the debate on how to make new and effective treatments accessible for the patients who need them,” said Line Walen.

Cancer on the political agenda

The third and final pharmaceutical company involved in the series is Janssen Norway. Marthe Brovold Løberg, Communication and Public Affairs Manager at Janssen, has been part of the planning group since the start in 2015. She said:

“Janssen is very proud to be a collaboration partner in this well-established political meeting series that has highlighted important issues since 2015. We all have a common goal; to secure the best possible cancer treatment, now and in the future, and our focus is to enable fast and equal access to innovative treatment in Norway. Janssen wishes to be a part of the solution for cancer patients. To achieve this, collaboration is key,” said Marthe Brovold Løberg.

Thomas Axelsen, head of the political department at The Norwegian Cancer Society, also part of the planning group, added that cross sectoral collaboration is important for a patient organisation.

“This meeting series has been a great arena for the Norwegian Cancer Society to find common ground and raise important issues together with other actors in a field that is of enormous importance to cancer patients. Even though we sometimes have different perspectives and incentives, most of the time we share a common end goal – and finding together across sectors is both important and necessary for us to succeed at creating better cancer care,” said Thomas Axelsen, and added:

“The most important thing we want to achieve is putting cancer on the political agenda and creating a meeting place where different sectors can come together and offer solutions to existing problems. We want the politicians who attend our meetings to leave with more knowledge, and new input that can lead to needed political action. To some extent I think we have succeeded at this so far.”

Why Arendal

Arendalsuka, the political festival in the southern Norwegian town Arendal, taking place in August, has become an important arena for those who want to improve aspects of Norwegian society and politics. Oslo Cancer Cluster has participated several years to meet key players and accelerate the development of cancer treatments.

There was a natural pandemic pause in Arendalsuka in 2020 but in 2021 the town was once again the hub of politics and organisations for a week in mid-August, and The Future of Cancer Treatment hosted an open breakfast seminar about health data – from politics to clinics.


About Cluster Collaborations

In an article series called Cluster Collaborations, we want to highlight the fruitful collaborations in the cluster, underlining the very essence of what Oslo Cancer Cluster is all about, from cancer research to cure.


Linking with the community

In the first of a new article series, we talk with Ola Gudmundsen, CEO LINK Medical, about being part of Oslo Cancer Cluster during the past 13 years.

LINK Medical is a full-service contract research organization (CRO) – but like most other companies, it did not start that way. When the company joined Oslo Cancer Cluster in 2008, it was a medium-sized CRO.

During the past 13 years as a member, LINK has developed many collaborations with other member companies and participated in a variety of events.

An incredible journey

“It has been an incredible journey. We have developed as a company through conferences and lectures, as well as through the work we have done for other companies. Supporting Oslo Cancer Cluster’s work and being part of the cluster community enables us to contribute to the fight against cancer,” said Ola Gudmundsen, CEO LINK Medical.

The company provides product development services for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries across Northern Europe. According to the home page, the company regards itself “a pragmatic problem-solver” all the way from early drug development to European and American clinical studies within cancer.

“We are now working with advanced therapies and can therefore contribute in important areas where future cancer treatments are being developed,” said Gudmundsen.

Three aspects of value

“The value of the membership lies in three aspects: the events, the collaborations, and the community,” said Gudmundsen, and continued:

“The events are arenas for learning and understanding what is happening in the field of cancer research. Also, the events help us to know the Norwegian cancer research environment through presentations from other members. The collaborations and conversations within the cluster are important because they often are about ideas that can be developed into cancer treatments. The community has a common goal to fight cancer.”

The company has collaborated with many of the other cluster members throughout the years, and lately, they have also developed collaborations with foreign companies.

“Companies we work with can benefit from our expertise, to supplement their own experts and have good discussions about developmental strategies,” said Gudmundsen.

LINK Medical specialises in a whole range of areas within cancer as well as over 20 other therapeutic areas. Read more about these areas on the LINK Medical web page:

Cluster Collaborations

In a new article series, called Cluster Collaborations, we present members who have a cluster story to tell. We want to highlight the fruitful collaborations in the cluster, underlining the very essence of what Oslo Cancer Cluster is all about, from cancer research to cure.