Daan Dohmen studied the Master’s programme of Industrial Engineering, Management of Medicine at the UT, where he also obtained his PhD in Implementation of e-Health in 2012. Directly after finishing his studies, he started his first company FocusCura, centered around using technology to help elderly stay home independent.
‘I actually came to the UT because I wanted to become a doctor. However, there was a lottery system to be admitted to the medical school and I got the wrong number, so I had to look for some other study programme,’ says Dohmen. ‘The UT profiled itself as an entrepreneurial university and I lived in the Hubertus house with many student entrepreneurs, so that is where the foundation for my businesses was laid. I even had UT professors as my advisory board for FocusCura. Interestingly, FocusCura is now run by another UT alumnus Raoul Zaal, while I focus on Luscii.’
Luscii is a company founded by Dohmen in 2018. It offers a platform to organise chronic care with the aid of technology, so that visits and admissions to the hospital can be prevented. On top of his CEO position at Luscii, Dohmen advises the national Council for Health & Society and serves as a shareholding advisor to the board for FocusCura.
You have founded two companies focused on e-health solutions. What is it like to run such a business during the corona crisis?
Dohmen: ‘Our companies are based on the vision of using modern technology to help patients. It is a vision that works. We could see that in the past weeks, when the entire healthcare sector needed to start doing things differently. If we look into the future, we can see that there will be many elderly people but not enough medical professionals to take care of them. The current crisis highlights this future problem, makes it even clearer. Shortly after the coronavirus outbreak, Luscii was asked for help by many hospitals. We could see that healthcare organizations were looking to deliver the best possible care – using technology.’
Is that where the idea for the ‘Corona Check’ app came from?
‘We were approached by the OLVG hospital in Amsterdam because many people were panicking, calling their GP, worried about having the coronavirus. Luscii is a platform that can be configurated to different diseases, so we immediately decided to tailor make it for COVID-19. All completely none profit. The entire team instantly agreed. Everyone dropped everything and started working on it full-time. We barely slept. We started on the 10th of March and on the 15th of March the app was ready for launch. Now the app is available nationwide and in seven other countries in Europe and Africa. We were able to scale up the platform very quickly.’
How does the app work?
‘Anyone can download it and fill in their symptoms, along with their ZIP code and phone number. We collaborate with hospitals in all regions, including the MST in Enschede, for example. If there is a reason for concern, the user gets contacted by a healthcare professional in the area. We guarantee this happens within 24 hours, but often it is as fast as one hour. The medical staff then directs the patient, tells them where to go or what to do.’
How many people have used the app so far?
‘At the moment we have over 160.000 users. Out of those, about 5.000 had a COVID-19 suspicion based on their symptoms. The participating doctors guided them to the right care, like the GP of the patient. About 50 were referred to the emergency room or test facility directly. The biggest group of our users is actually the baby boomers generation, so people between 55 and 74 years old. This shows us that the older generation is open to using technology.’
How is the University of Twente involved in the app?
‘Two of our partners are the Medical Spectrum Twente and Ziekenhuisgroep Twente, both hospital in the “UT region”. The UT is setting up a team to analyze the data from the app. We will share anonymized data from the app on Open Access with the university and other interested organizations. This can lead to better understanding of symptoms and how the disease spreads, for example.’
What is the next step for you, the app and your companies?
‘We are looking into what we need for the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, if it comes. We want to see if we can refer people using the app with symptoms to the right testing facilities, once the testing facilities are open. We are also helping hospitals to open up other care, not only care for COVID-19 patients. There are many other patients that need help and we want to support hospitals via Luscii. Through Luscii, patients can receive check-ups digitally, their data gets analyzed and then the healthcare professionals can contact them. This limits hospital visits and can prevent crowded waiting rooms, where it would be difficult for people to keep the social distance of 1,5 meters. E-Health support is especially important now.’