Koert van Ittersum (left) and Guido de Rooij. Photographer: Kelly Kroeze
Low treatment adherence is a well-known problem in healthcare that isn’t easily solved and carries significant consequences. Various factors contribute to 20 to 40% of Dutch patients not adhering to their medication regimen as prescribed by their (general) practitioner. Therefore, Obseq BV has developed the innovative digital platform, Balto. Balto is designed to support and enhance treatment adherence by providing real-time personalized support to patients throughout their entire treatment journey. Triade Investment and RUG Ventures have decided to provide a proof-of-concept funding of €150,000 to Obseq BV to demonstrate Balto’s functionality.
Hilbrand van der Zee, Manager of Investment at Triade Investment, is excited about Balto’s potential: “This investment is a prime example of early-stage financing for a technical innovation that can contribute to keeping healthcare affordable in the long run. With this investment, we aim to give Balto the opportunity to demonstrate the functionality of its digital platform through a pilot study and subsequent effectiveness research.”
Getting Better Together
Guido de Rooij, an anaesthesiologist and trauma helicopter physician (UMCG), and Koert van Ittersum, a professor of Marketing and Consumer Well-being and behavioural scientist at the University of Groningen (UG), are the minds behind Balto. By supporting and improving treatment adherence, Balto aims to prevent a lot of suffering among patients and to generate significant cost savings in healthcare. Operating under the motto “Getting Better Together,” Balto collaborates closely with all key players in patients’ healthcare journeys: patients, (general) practitioners, and pharmacists. This collaboration enables the enhancement of treatment adherence.
Balto aspires, within 10 years, to support treatment adherence for all Dutch patients with national coverage and to improve it by 5 to 10%. Koert van Ittersum says, “Research tells us that inadequate treatment adherence is a dominant chain problem. Multiple healthcare parties are involved in supporting treatment adherence, but there’s a lack of overview, unclear accountability, and a shortage of time. As a result, it’s not always clear whether patients adhere to their medication regimen as prescribed.” Guido de Rooij adds, “This can lead to worsening symptoms or even new symptoms, often requiring more and expensive medication. With Balto, we aim to break this cycle and improve patients’ quality of life while simultaneously helping to make healthcare more efficient and affordable.”
Impact on Healthy Aging
Both investing parties have an entrepreneurial spirit ingrained in their DNA. Triade Investment was founded to facilitate knowledge development and leverage this knowledge to improve society. As a subsidiary of UMCG, Triade is driven to invest in initiatives that promote healthy aging. RUG Ventures, a subsidiary of the UG, is an investment firm that supports entrepreneurial researchers from the university in turning their ideas into successful businesses at an early stage. Corina Prent, Managing Director of RUG Ventures, remarks, “Balto bridges scientific knowledge with the business realm. We anticipate that with this investment, we can genuinely impact healthy aging, promoting the healthy and active aging of the Dutch population.”