AniMedes

AniMedes

Hallein, AustriaHallein, Austria
Year Founded:
2010
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AniMedical and teamworx media management created "AniMedes", a digital app-based plattform on mobile devices that can fully replace current paper-based solutions for patient education prior to surgery. Using modern media technologies and beautiful 3D-animated movies, AniMedes represents a secure, innovative and effective way to explain complex treatments to sick and frightened people.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Medical patient education has come to a deadlock through the extensive use of standardized methods. Officially, verbal informed consent explanations between physicians and patients are the fundament of patient information. Educational pamphlets add information with texts and pictures. In practice, these pamphlets consist of way more information on risks and side effects than on the actual treatment, therefore also being called "waivers". Complex medical content cannot be conveyed comprehensibly by using outdated methods. Medical texts are hard to read, while increasing numbers of illiterate people will pose a big problem to doctors in the future. At the same time, doctors increasingly less time per patient. Additionally, lawsuits are increasingly expensive for primary care providers.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

AniMedes is a completely digital system that is able to handle the complete process of informing patients prior to their surgery, including the informed consent signature. It presents information using short movies and 3D-animations. It features questionnaires with the patient's most commonly asked questions and can admin a patient's anamnesis. It displays everything the patient saw and submitted for the doctor, providing a coherent frame of issues or dangers that concern the patient, hence providing a good outline for their personal talk. The app logs and stores all the information typed in automatically, everything can be easily commented on by the attending doctor. This saves valuable time in the conversation that would normally be needed for excessive handwritten documentation.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The ultimate goal for AniMedes is to completely substitute all standardized paper pamphlets that are being used by almost all hospitals around the world. Every patient education procedure can be improved by using modern tools. Our approach is designed to be scalable, so that in the future, most surgeries and major treatments will have an according movie to explain them to patients in multiple languages. This is a systematic improvement to the quality of the informed consent explanations, a large step towards improved legal security for both medical personnel and patients. It is a role model application for realigning an outdated system and adapting it for the digital future of medicine.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

What started as a little project to bring some new form of media into patient education became increasingly bigger over the last two years. At one point, just adding an additional tool to the doctors portfolio in form of providing them with a movie, was not enough. The movies alone could not substitute any existing part of the informed consent explanations. With creating the AniMedes-app, AniMedical has taken a huge step towards professionalization and the creation of a well-rounded product that really makes things easier in every day clinical life. Over the last few months, we have started a larger scale discussion among our partnering hospitals, the Austrian government, the Austrian patient advocacy and most of the major government supported hospital operators, about the current state of patient education. This discussion was very successful and will undoubtedly lead to a series of innovation projects and hopefully to an improvement of the situation of patients in hospitals in the long run. Some of our movies have already been tested in clinical situations in a private clinic as well as a general hospital in Salzburg. Both test runs have shown that patients accepted the new media very well and actually enjoyed this part of their hospitalization. Although AniMedes needs to be thoroughly tested, the outcome of those early tests and the response by the medical community in general was overwhelmingly positive.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

- Service agreements with German and Austrian hospital operators: continuously - Production of more movie packages: continuously - Completion of the clinical trial: Q3/2013 - Final examination of the app, including licenses and certification: Q4/2013 - Migration of the app to Windows8: Q4/2013 - Market rollout in Austria: Q1/2014 - Founding of a GmbH (LLC) to distribute and run the app: Q1/2014 - Connecting with clinical IT-management systems: Q1/2014 - Translating the app into 10 languages: Q1/2014 - Entry German market: Q2/2014 - Entry of other markets: long-term, about Q1/2015

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Europe, the Thieme corporation, a medical publisher, is the main competitor. Thieme currently produces almost all informed consent forms on paper, used by doctors in our target countries, therefore being the current "gold standard". However, their digital product line is lacking larger amounts of provided informational movies and 3D-animations. Thieme already has all the customer relationships that AniMedes needs to start up. It is a larger competitor and can react to almost any competitors by simply outbuying/underbidding them. Once AniMedes is on the open market, the app could be imitated or competitors could denounce the app for technical reasons. This is the reason why AniMedes needs to be spotless regarding legal conformity, data security, certification and standardization.
Team

Founding Story

In 2006, Johannes Allesch and his girlfriend came back from an informed consent explanation for a complicated, major surgery. Although the doctor took his time and explained the surgery in great detail, the given explanation was just not informative enough. Right after this incident, Johannes decided to dedicate his education as a 3D-artist to medical explanation procedures. AniMedical was born.
Organization Name

AniMedical - medizinische Animationen KG

About You
About You
First Name

Johannes

Last Name

Allesch

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Innovation
Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?

The AniMedes-App for mobile devices replaces outdated paper based informed consent methods by using short 3D-Animation movies. Our movies explain interventional procedures in a schematic and easily understandable way, but they are medically correct and detailed. The movies and the corresponding app are available in different languages, thus giving doctors the security that their patients really understand the procedure, even if they speak another language.
The additional utilization of a short animated film can facilitate informed consent explanations, save time and induce a clearer understanding of medical procedures with health care amateurs. This is key to patients coping with their sickness and their compliance with their chosen treatment options. The utilization of digital informed consent software can and facilitate talks between doctors and patients the overall administrative process and provide additional legal security for all participants.
Our app can completely replace the paper based informed consent in hospitals, while providing more security and information, saving time and resources. This is why AniMedes also features questionnaires about possible risks and the patient's own questions. However, the app was neither designed to replace the direct conversation between doctors and patients, nor is this a desirable effect anytime in the future. The integrated, digital approach of AniMedes uses the latest trends from tablet technologies and informational media to ensure an innovative, unprecedented product for healthcare purposes.

Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?

The specialty of AniMedes is the focus we put on 3D-animations as an information source. AniMedical is an animation studio that focuses on medical content. While others also have that focus, the majority of patient education media is produced by conservative print publishers. Animation studios mostly work as subcontractors, with focus on doctor-centered solutions, or they don’t specialize in medicine at all. Looking at existing patient education software, most solutions are digital versions of the paper based forms that allow for no innovative, user-friendly interaction. The possibilities of modern touchpad technologies are simply omitted and ignored. AniMedes is the first app to combine validated 3D-movies with interactive questionnaires on tablet computers for both, doctors and patients.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

AniMedical and teamworx media management run the AniMedes project together, each providing their unique networks and skills of marketing, media, animation and software development. Our combination of designers, programmers, marketing specialists, and a large advisory group of doctors form a highly flexible network of skillful employees and external specialists. This allows us to develop the app fast and highly adapted to respective workloads. We keep close contact with universities to recruit well trained specialists early on. All media is created with doctors and major hospital care providers. AniMedes is getting certified, tested and cleared for hospital use, so doctors can rely on security and legal validation of any information that the app delivers to their patients.

How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?

Since AniMedes is an app on digital devices, it is subject to constant change. This means that it is of the utmost importance to always keep the product up to date and fresh, not least because the medical data needs to be accurate at all times. AniMedes is updated continually in constant collaboration with leading medical experts and according to medical guidelines.
Furthermore, the included movies and 3D-animations as well as text contents of the app are being varied to customary standards and legal requirements of each clinic or country the app is sold to. To keep the product at the cutting edge of innovation, the company will be present with branch offices at innovation/university hotspots in Austria and Germany.

Organization Country

, SAL, Hallein

Business Model
The systemic challenge you are trying to overcome (select one)

Realign the incentives in the public healthcare system in mature markets, or

Health area (target market) where the need is [select only one]

Primary healthcare services

Categories along the health continuum you are covering [select all that apply]

Intervention, Social integration.

Stage that best applies to your solution [select only one]

Piloting (a pilot that has just begun operating)

Core strategies of your business model [select all that apply]

Patient-centered design, Redesign of the public healthcare system for more efficiency (in terms of processes, structure etc.), New/redefined roles for healthcare service provision, Unconventional partnerships (between traditional healthcare players and players outside healthcare).

If other, specify here:
Most relevant tools you are using to implement the strategies outlined above [select only two]

Technology, Others.

If other, specify here:

Multimedia and 3D-animation technologies

What is your value proposition?

Using animated movies and software on mobile touchpads to explain complex medical issues to patients offers multiple benefits.
A lot of time can be saved due to the automatic documentation of every information that goes out to, or comes back from the patients. Doctors would normally need this time to manually document their discussions with their patients. It improves the legal security of the whole patient education process. Saving the finished documentation digitally saves space and resources. The app delivers audiovisual information in any language, so every patient has a chance to understand their treatment and to actively contribute to a better outcome. Digital patient education also offers a constant data source for improvement of quality, effectivity and a minimization of mistakes.

Who is your customer(s)?

Relevant customers are mainly hospitals and private clinics, respectively hospital operators as well as general practitioners and specialists. In countries with healthcare systems that are largely funded by state or regional governments, these political bodies have a high influence on the decision making process within hospitals and need to be addressed as possible clients as well. Private clinics and smaller hospital groups often have a special interest in being very technologically advanced and have more compact decision-making structures. This makes them a more ideal and easier approachable customer for the product, while large hospital operators, have a demand for much higher quantities and therefore provide more scalable sales possibilities.

What approaches to you use to reach your customers?

Regarding clients such as hospitals, hospital operators, private clinics, general practitioners and specialists, AniMedes will be sold using a direct marketing approach. Hospitals can be covered easiest by signing long-term service contracts with their operating companies and the regional governments that fund them. Other doctors as well as the private sector will be covered by attending medical conventions and by addressing medical associations. Reaching customers for AniMedes is not as hard as convincing them to change a system that has widely been accepted as a standard over the last few decades. This is why every movie pack sold within AniMedes will be cleared by leading physicians and in the best case scenario be approved by nationwide medical associations and the health ministry.

What are your primary activities?

AniMedicals primary activities as inventor of the app are to represent the product in front of customers and connect with key decision makers.
Other activities: development of the product, programming and design, text and media creation. This includes producing 3D-animations and legal texts, as well as translations and sound recording in various languages. Also, AniMedical creates and maintains the overall product design with website, logos, advertisements, folders and flyers. The responsibilities of teamworx media management are to promote the app via public relations, find and cultivate new customers and stake holders and to sell and distribute the product, which is a task they are well fit to accomplish due to their vast network within hospital organizations and medical officials.

What other challenges - individual, organizational, or environmental – are you currently facing or might hinder future success of your business, and how do you plan to overcome those?

AniMedical and teamworx media management combined are not very large companies. Financing and developing the app is a task that needs to be backed up by other sources of revenue from both companies. The smaller the company, the harder it also is to develop a notable market presence that is sustainable. Additionally, many decision makers in healthcare did not grow up with mobile applications and therefore have a natural tendency to distrust digital products. This challenge pairs well with the general precarious situation of computer programs that deal with patient data, as many examples of computerization in healthcare have shown lately. Most of these challenges can be overcome by strategically growing the business without overstretching it, and by responsible product development.

Briefly describe your growth strategy going forward

1: Market entry with big hospital operators and opinion leaders in Austria and Germany.
2: Cooperation with big technology companies (Microsoft) to ensure hardware/software stability.
3: Continuous development of 3D-content in cooperation with medical associations and hospital operators.
4: Internationalization of the product via franchise corporations.
5: Strategy check every quarter year.

What dimensions for growth are you currently targeting for your innovation [select all that apply]

New customer group(s), New market(s)/country(ies).

What makes your business "ready" for growth?

Once the prototype is ready to be sold, there are no outside limitations to the possible growth of the business. AniMedes can be translated in every language, the movies can be adjusted to fit any clinic or country. The software will work in every hardware infrastructure. AniMedes will be sold via a licence model, allowing us to retain any rights to selling our content to any other customers.

What are your key growth objectives?

- Founding of a GmbH (LLC) company
- Cooperation with hardware companies and medical associations
- Migration of the app to other operating systems
- Service agreements with main hospital operators
- Certification and approval of medical standardization
- Connectivity of the app with major clinical management IT-systems
- Company growth with 10+ employees over the next two years at best case

Organization's Country of Operation

, SAL, Hallein

Social Impact
What methods for quantification of social impact are you applying (if at all)?

AniMedes is subject of a randomized prospective patient study at the department for urology at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg. This study is conducted by OR Dr. S. Hruby and the Chief of Medicine, Univ.-Prof. Dr. G. Janetschek. In the study, AniMedes is used to explain two surgical procedures of varying complexity to test any influence on patient education. The primary focus is the patient's knowledge and comprehension of the upcoming surgery, secondary points of interest are the patient's fear and satisfaction with the system, as well as secondary effects for the hospital, like time and effort needed to run the app in a clinic. The study will start in May and run for six months. First results are expected as soon as August, due to the frequency of the less complex surgery.

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

AniMedes is principally adaptable for any language, country, medical and legal demands. 2D-movies can depict any surgery or treatment that people can visualize in their own thoughts, so there is basically no limit to what can be shown or explained using an 3D-animation. The app can be implemented a lot easier in countries where the medical standards are high on average, because it massively benefits from existing infrastructure such as wireless networks, internet and docking stations or tablet computers that are already being used. The technical requirements make it logical, that the most important markets for AniMedes are Europe, the Middle East (especially the UAE), North America, Japan and Australia, followed by China, Russia, Southern America and African countries.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Since AniMedes is a fairly new product that has not proven itself in the "real world", it is hard to project the possible impact it will make on the market. First tests have shown great potential in the concept and our extensive test runs of the app in 2013 will deliver the data needed to create a great product. Over the last few months, we have dedicated a lot of our time to finding clinics in Austria and Germany that eagerly accepted our offer to test the app in 2013. Our best case estimate of a possible market coverage projects a possible home market share (Austria and Germany) of up to 30% after 5 years, given the proper resources. This means 100 clinics in Austria and 1.000 in Germany alone. This can roughly be replicated in any similarly developed country.

Sustainability
Elaborate on your current financing strategy

AniMedical has received substantial financial aid from 2010 to the end of 2011, by a state-funded accademic incubator and a small national funding project, to finance a very early-stage prototape of the app. Since then, all of the money spent on the app has come from the company's own financial reserves. Since 2012, the companies teamworx media management and AniMedical share costs and income on the AniMedes project. Currently, the companies are financing the development of the app through their regular income. For AniMedical, this means commissioned work from pharmaceutical companies or medical institutions. The teamworx media managment GmbH generates their revenue from selling medically relevant videos to online newspapers and medical publishers. The normal cash flow dedicated to the AniMedes project is reflected in the current annual budget and currently reaches about USD 50.000,- per year.
AniMedes will also be submitted to various forms of external beneficiary financing, especially nationwide funding initiatives by the Austrian government as well as local (state) economy funds.
Additionally, AniMedes was submitted to various partnership programs by leading hardware/software companies. Those companies offer financial support and partnering strategies that will leviate the costs of product development for AniMedical enormously. Currently, there is an ongoing enquiry for AniMedes at Microsoft Austria and Western Europe, to fully fund the migration of AniMedes to Windows8 software and hardware combinations.

Share of revenue generation in total income of organization (in percent)

100% (At this time. AniMedical received a startup sponsorship in 2010/2011. See the introduction for more details)

Direct sales to patients or other beneficiaries (in percent)

70%

Of the possible sources of these sales listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Individuals, Caregivers, Other beneficiaries.

Licensing fees, e.g., for technology/franchise model (in percent)

0%, but planning to expand when selling to foreign markets.

Of the possible sources of these licensing opportunities listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Private businesses.

Service contract with organizations, e.g., government, NGOs (in percent)

30%

Of the possible sources of the service contracts listed below, check all that apply to your current strategy

Private businesses, Regional government, National government.

Explain your revenue generation strategy in more detail

AniMedes is sold as a service that includes initial installing, updates and maintenance. Customers will pay for the service and the provided movies in yearly licenses, prices increase by the number of licensed movies and tablet-PCs. The movies will only be available in packages of at least 5 movies, those packages are created according to medical specialties. Apps can be updated over the internet, which ensures that customers always have the latest version and AniMedes can provide location-independent maintenance and update service. Due to the license-based system and the language-independency, the business model is extremely scalable and easily transferable to new markets.The licenses will add up and enable AniMedical to develop the product using a steady and predictable cash flow.

Share of philanthropy in total income of organization (in percent)

0%

Philanthrophy strategies you are using

Diversified strategy.

Explain your philanthropic approach in more detail

Austria and Germany offer many ways to bring in funds from philantropic sources, as well as state or nationwide competitions and government fundings.
We will submit AniMedes to various funding programs by initiatives such as the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (Austrian Economy Service) and the Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (Association for Research Funding). In addition to programs that support the development of the product itself, there are some initiatives that support the export of products to different markets, such as the ITG (Innovation and Technology Transfer Association Salzburg).
Depending on the success of our appeals, the estimated income from such sources ranges from EUR 10.000,- to EUR 70.000,-.

Expand on your selections; explain how you will sustain funding over the next 1-3 years.

Since AniMedes will be sold using a licencing fee model, no clinic will have to pay for the full production costs of the 3D-animations or the app and AniMedical can sell to any number of clients. The current system of paper pamphlets works just the same way: Clinics pay an annual fee to gain rights to use and print the paper pamphlets used in patient education. Our strategy works just the same. The current projected cost of a fully functional product with 2 tablets, about 7 movies that represent the majority of the concerning medical speciality, and technical support is about USD 7.000,- per year. These costs can be varied according to clinic and order size. These fees add up, while the steady cash flow enables AniMedical to update and perpetually improve the software.
Until the point is reached where this steady income exceeds expenses and product development costs, the current strategy consists of the aforementioned funding strategies: Own cash flow from commissioned work outside of the AniMedes project, cooperations with and funding by external partners and government funds, which mostly run for durations of over a year in any case.
Another strategy involves the cooperation with pharmaceutical partners that could have a strong interest in the app as a showcase tool for marketing purposes or sales staff. The app therefore also acts as a use-case for pharmaceutical marketing, which can create further revenue for AniMedical in the future.

Years in Operation

Operating 1-5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

Salzburg Economy Business Award 2010: 1st place, Best Businessplan.

i2b Businessplan Award 2010: 2nd place (nationwide contest)

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