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Filling a void in chronic disease treatment

Sidekick Health illustration
Icelandic Sidekick aims to reduce healthcare strain and nudge people towards lasting lifestyle and behavior changes with its digital therapeutics innovations. At the beginning of the pandemic, digital health company Sidekick Health teamed up with Iceland’s national emergency services and infectious disease experts and developed a nationwide COVID-19 program that allowed health professionals to monitor the condition of their patients through a mobile phone app. With their solution they helped take the pressure off overburdened hospitals and clinics. “The solution was developed in weeks, not months or years, because of the pandemic." The app was based on the self-reporting of the patient on a panel of symptoms and measurements at multiple times throughout the day. Using artificial intelligence (AI) the platform categorizes cases by severity, which both saves time and enables health professionals to monitor and manage a large number of patients. “The solution was developed in weeks, not months or years, because of the pandemic,” says Gulli Arnason, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer (CMCO) at Sidekick Health. “The pandemic has moved the digital health sector forward by a few years. We could clearly see an increased interest during our Series A fundraising efforts, and now we are witnessing a sharp rise in interesting conversations from possible partners and collaborators. This is especially true when it comes to providers of healthcare, who by need and nature are slow movers,” he says. Integrating digital solutions Before the pandemic came and changed the world, Sidekick’s platform had been proven in clinical studies to help manage weight control, medication adherence and psychological health. The two founders, medical doctors Tryggvi Thorgeirsson and Sam Oddsson, had worked for years treating patients with lifestyle-related illnesses and had started to explore the idea of using technology to prevent chronic illnesses and help people better manage their health.     “Research shows that 68% of all deaths can be linked to lifestyle-related illnesses, as well as about 80% of global healthcare costs. So, the size of the problem is enormous, and it will not be solved with the current bricks-and-mortar healthcare system,” says Arnason. Arnason and his colleagues believe there is a void in the treatment of chronic disease, and that it will soon be unacceptable to leave the doctor’s office without digital care as part of the treatment. “Sidekick exists to fill this void,” he says. Today, the company operates a digital care platform and provides 360-degree support to people with chronic illnesses. This includes remote monitoring, treatment adherence and disease specific education – driven by gamification. “Our solution is scalable across multiple
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