Can you imagine that it’s already the third Christmas we are celebrating as team Triumf? This has surely been an eventful year for us thus far. Here we would like to send the warmest seasonal greetings to our supporters and write about our achievements this year. Thank you, team members and everyone else, who are playing a role in this journey!
To remind you, Triumf Health is creating a mobile health game for chronically ill children. Additionally, we have developed a dashboard for the care team to monitor the progress of the patients. Mobile health market holds a great promise and is growing so rapidly, giving us a possibility to learn more every day. The major driving factors of mHealth market that shifts the focus on user centric healthcare are mainly related to the growing use of smart devices accompanied with better access to mobile networks. Now let’s see how our team Triumf has contributed to the mHealth market.
Continuous improvements in the platform - Check!
We have been successful in creating a solution that is both attractive and effective (how do we know that? Continue reading to get the answer) although the journey is still ongoing. We have believed from the beginning that it is very important to make the platform fun and engaging in order for the research-based effective content be able to shine through. Georgi and the rest of the team have contributed to the improvements of the narrative, making the journey of the player very captivating. In our Triumf game, the protector of the Triumfland city (the player) helps the Doctor to put up a fight against the Disease Monster. Kids have given us very positive feedback on the narrative (rating of 8.2/10 is very high considering the big differences in the preferences of the age group). We saw that kids below 10 gave higher scores than older ones, although even a 16-year-old found the narrative to be engaging. We have worked on additional content and paths for kids with various conditions, which means that those who have diabetes, asthma, cancer or weight issues could benefit from playing the game. Although these improvements made a huge difference for the players, there has also been so many improvements that does not meet the eye - such as improving the data tracking and security. These issues are very important in the era of GDPR.
Research - one study finished, three about to start
We have always said that research runs in the background for us but at this point we are not even underestimating the effect of research findings. For the past 6 months, we ran multi-site clinical study in two major hospitals in Estonia – Tartu University Hospital and Tallinn Children’s Hospital. Pediatric cancer patients with less than 1 year from the diagnosis were eligible to participate in the study. We invited 15 patients to participate in the study, 10 agreed and 9 completed the study. Please note here that 35 children under the age of 18 are diagnosed with cancer every year in Estonia, most below 5 years of age. We are currently writing two manuscripts based on the findings and our Chief Engagement Officer Riin, who became the Research Coordinator during the study, is also writing her Master’s thesis at the University of Tartu. We have found positive effects of the digital health intervention (playing the Triumf game) on mental health and health related quality of life. Also, we saw based on a qualitative interview, that in general, kids’ perception of the game 82% positive (that’s much higher compared to other solutions on the market). We asked questions such as did you find the content useful, did the game benefit your wellbeing, did it distract from the treatment, was it motivating, easy to use, would you recommend to your friends etc. We can’t wait to share our published findings with you.
Now we are leveling up regarding the research. I am about to start my post-doc at the startup. For the first time ever, Estonian Research Council funded a startup, how awesome is that? It means that we are now in the process of writing yet another ethical committee application to be able to start our multi-site RCT (Randomized Controlled Trials) in Estonia. But that’s not all - we are also starting a pilot in Denmark with Steno Diabetes Center through EU funded ProVaHealth project. Hang on for a moment, it’s still not all. We are also honored to be part of Icory consortium in Finland which means even more scientific studies for us! First in Helsinki University Central Hospital's new Children’s Hospital and also in Singapore in two of their major public hospitals. My own cheeky little goal is to show that it is possible to do research without being affiliated with an academic organization as it is done in biotech companies but not so much in digital health companies. Science should be open and benefit us all, much like I was discussing in a panel at Slush Singapore.
First institutional licencing contracts - the struggle has been real
Yes, the struggle is real when working with public institutions. We have been negotiating actively with many hospitals globally, however, hospitals are budgeting either annually or biennially which means that you need to be able to be in the right place at the right time in order to be able to close the deal. Our solution has been found promising across continents but only now we also have research findings to back up the evidence-based content, many customers were waiting for the results. This means that now we have much more to offer to our clients and the negotiations are also developing more rapidly. Keep your fingers crossed for us, the sales cycle in digital health is long but the wait is for sure worth it in the end. With our research findings and upcoming studies, we are surely a unicorn in the field from the global perspective.
Funding - exploring the possibilities
In 2017 we had a goal of raising 500K in 2018 but plans change, don’t they? We did not raise 500K but instead we won several competitions, such as Prototron and became the best social enterprise at Ajujaht. So we have been able to work with full power without raising equity financing, how awesome is that! This means that we have been lucky to work at our own pace (and by no means has this been a slow pace!), allowing us to be independent in our decisions and learn from our own mistakes. However, funding is necessary for growth and as we aim to become the global leader in digital therapeutics for pediatric patients, we aim to seek H2020 SME grant funding that is supported by investment of 1M € in early 2019. For us, this has been a great accomplishment to be able to preserve our independence in 2018 and now we are also able to show to VCs that our team knows what we are doing.
Team growth - go big or go home?
This year our team did not grow significantly although we thought that this would happen back in 2017. But small teams can accomplish big things if its members are motivated to achieve the common goal. Or are we really that small? In addition to myself, Anna & Riin & Risto have been committed from the day 1. Lea and Pepi over the past year and we have had a total of 3 interns in 2018. Additionally we have a wonderful set of three advisors and all of those people have contributed so much for the success of our journey. Although Kertu and Pepi, our team members in 2018, are now pursuing their goals elsewhere, their contribution has made such a difference. Also, thank you, Georgi, Van Anh & Kaari - these three wonderful people joined our team in 2018 through Erasmus+ traineeship program. Georgi’s contribution made such an impact on our storyline and narrative, Van Anh doubled our Twitter following and Kaari contributed to our research and social media presence. Now we are happy that Kaari took a position as a Health Education Officer at Triumf. There would be no Triumf without these people, thank you all for being part of this journey. 2019 will be an even more successful year for us, I am sure!
Beyond the goals - thank you!
This has been a long overview of the goals we set to ourselves in 2017, you are a real superhero if you managed to read until the very end! Taken together, although our path changed in 2018, we were still very lucky to accomplish so much. It has been a memorable year, even to think about being the only team from Europe selected to the finals of the Medical Innovation Competition or presenting the poster in Montreal or speaking at so many different events globally and drawing more attention to the importance of mental health in the context of chronic illnesses or digital health and serious games in general. Most importantly, we showed this year that our game is not another app but truly a beneficial solution!