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AssistMe’s CPO Silke in discussion with UX researcher Inken Lohmann.

What HealthTech Ventures Can Learn from Beta Testing

Takeaways from an Interview with AssistMe’s CPO, Silke Grimmer

AssistMe
AssistMe
May 6, 2019 · 8 min read

Innovating for a Growing Healthcare Challenge

According to the UN, “Globally, the number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to triple by 2050, from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050. By 2100 it is expected to increase to 909 million, nearly seven times its value in 2017.” If you then consider that there is only a 36.9% retention rate of professional caregivers in elderly care, you can immediately see the shortage of healthcare professionals for this growing group of people.

Now if we take a look at what is happening globally, 200 million people suffer from incontinence. In terms of care homes, 70% of people suffer from incontinence, and of those, up to 8% suffer from related skin issues and 17% from subsequent internal infections.

Paying attention to this increasing global aging demographic is vital from a care perspective, and it also makes sense from an economic and business perspective to reduce costs while reaching a big market. The incontinence care market will reach close to US$25B by 2022. So there’s a critical importance to scaling up solutions that accommodate the growing needs of this market.

Berlin-based HealthTech Venture Steps Up to the Challenge

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CPO Silke Grimmer in AssistMe’s offices in Berlin.

In order to develop our first product, AIDMATE, we recently conducted a beta test with our first solution. The unique thing is that we tested in care homes, and not just in the lab. To share more of this milestone, our CPO Silke Grimmer was recently interviewed by Elisheva Marcus, Senior Content Manager at Next Big Thing AG. She asked Silke to share the significance of the test done in-situ and the implications it has on healthcare settings.


Welcome Back from Testing, Silke Grimmer!

Hi Silke, thanks for talking with me. You were on-site for much of AssistMe’s beta testing and have naturally been integral to all stages of your startup’s product development. Please explain to our readers the significance of the test and the implications it has on healthcare settings.

Purpose and Scope of AssistMe’s Beta Test

Let’s start with this: What was the purpose and scope of your beta test?

Regarding the scope, we tested our AIDMATE system in 2 German care homes. This included 10–15 residents and multiple caregivers who participated in the test over the course of 2 weeks at each care home.

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The mobile version of the AIDMATE system in action.

Why is a beta-test critical for IoT hardware product development?

Testing a complex new system in the real-life setting is essential for detecting technical obstacles and unexpected human behavior early on in order to optimize the functionality and design in an environment- and human-centered manner.

What specifically did AssistMe aim to achieve in its beta test?

Learnings and Surprises from Testing

That sounds ambitious! What were the main learnings from the beta testing?

Clearly, a system such as AIDMATE functions as a decision assistant for caregivers to take well-informed and timely actions in order to deliver high quality care. Yet, it won’t and shouldn’t substitute caregivers’ in their holistic care expertise and decision making responsibility.

We perceived a high acceptance of the overall system by caregivers and a willingness to integrate the system permanently and adapt their daily workflow.

Also, the usage of a smartphone as daily support tool for incontinence care is not yet common which is likely to change quickly as smartphones are already used for other purposes and expected to be used for more applications in the future.

What surprised you most? How were the reactions of the caregivers?

In terms of disrupting the workflow of caregivers by making use of AIDMATE, it was surprising to note that caregivers perceive the additional step of attaching and detaching a clip to a diaper as easily manageable and no significant change to their workflow.

Advice for Other Startups

Your team worked tirelessly in covering 4 weeks of day and night shifts in order to thoroughly assess the systems functionality in multiple situations, different caregiver and recipients. A true team effort! What’s the vision that holds your team together?

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AssistMe’s team in Berlin.

We want to empower caregivers to deliver precision care for best possible outcomes despite challenging circumstances, thereby ensuring that care recipients can live and age in a healthy and dignified way.

Our team strongly believes in the positive impact that our system can bring to care recipients and caregivers in today’s highly challenging care environment that requires supportive solutions. This awareness drives us to develop our system at top speed, not only to respond to the care crisis in Germany but also to help the care sector in establishing modern care standards.

What advice to you have for early-stage startups either from the healthtech, care, or hardware perspective?

  1. Critical thinking and the need for behavioral change amongst the user group might be your greatest challenges along the way.
  2. Expect to enter a highly complex stakeholder environment in which you need to do your homework in understanding each stakeholders’ pains and gains in great detail.
  3. Plan your development timeline with reasonable buffers, especially when working on a combined hardware-software solution.
  4. Find investors with sector expertise and networks, who understand and believe in your product to an extent that makes them willing to go the extra mile with you.
  5. Don’t let regulations, cost or the sector complexity scare you off quickly. Perseverance is essential in the healthtech sector, just like renowned advocates and in person interaction with users.
  6. Manage stakeholders’ expectations well at all times.
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AssistMe’s CTO Pedro working in the lab.

How did you wrap up the testing? What was the reaction from the caregivers?


Reach out to Us!

If you are interested in partnering with us or are an innovation leader in the healthcare sector interested in our solution, reach out to us on our website.

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AssistMe develops technology to empower care service providers and professionals in delivering high-quality care, transitioning from a standard to a personalized care model. Our connected solutions help caregivers manage workloads with efficiency and ease while providing a dignified and healthier lifestyle for care recipients. Visit us at assistme.io.

AssistMe

Written by

AssistMe

Through smart incontinence pants AssistMe keeps users updated about pressing care needs — anytime, anywhere.

AssistMe

Written by

AssistMe

Through smart incontinence pants AssistMe keeps users updated about pressing care needs — anytime, anywhere.

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