RheumaBuddy is one of the frontrunners in digital therapeutics in rheumatology. It was launched in its first version in 2014 and is currently available in most European countries. It is used by more than 20.000 patients, with the aim of improving Quality of Life of those living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Where it all began: The journey of co-creation
Despite advances in medicine, many patients with RA still experience a burden of disease. This can be due to symptoms such as fatigue and pain, or the psychological effects of living with RA.
Back in 2013, Daman was invited to facilitate a co-creation process to clarify the needs of young people living with RA. This resulted in identification of 3 overall challenges:
- How to understand the disease; how the disease impact your life, and how your lifestyle can impact disease, flares etc
- How to communicate well and form a strong partnership with your doctor, when there is little time in consultation.
- What to do in terms of the associated mental/psychological deroute that the disease can lead to
Based on this, the concept of todays RheumaBuddy was formed. The first version was brought to life in September 2014.
A user-friendly tool in your pocket
From the very beginning and continuously, RheumaBuddy has been designed closely between people living the disease, leading rheumatologists, and digital designers. This has ensured a product that is by many patients seen as very user-friendly and welcoming.
RheumaBuddy is built on the principle of empowerment. That means to increase health literacy and enable behavioural change that leads to better outcomes of people living with RA.
”With the app, my rheumatologist has been able to give me a better treatment, so that I can live without pain”
The current solution consists of several features including diary tracking, advanced insights and coaching, preparing for your medical consultation and taking part in a micro community with other patients. However, advancements are continuously ongoing. The vision with RheumaBuddy is to improve the Health Related Quality of Life so that patients can live as happy a life as if they did not have their disease.
“It is our vision to improve the Quality of Life of 10 million people with chronic disease so they can live as happy a life as if they did not have their disease.”
Strong partnerships have led to EULAR recognition
Thanks to strong partnerships with patient organizations and leading rheumatologists throughout Europe, RheumaBuddy has not only advanced significantly, but it has also been distributed to thousands of patients and many rheumatologists.
The success of RheumaBuddy was fuelled by the award as best mHealth initiative by EULAR in 2015, and same year it won the EULAR PARE best patient initiative award. RheumaBuddy is designed according to the recommendations of EULAR for self-management strategies in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
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Listen to our podcast with Andreas Dam:
Podcast: Digital Rheumatology Netwok Vol.12 – Digital Rheumatology Network