TechRound Has Heard from Dr Angelica Kohlmann, MD PhD, Chairman of Bloom Diagnostics
“For so long, healthcare systems globally have been struggling with inefficiencies, high costs and worse, often populations in remote places are not even reached. Globally, women are the most affected, as data from Nigeria and other developing countries show. When Covid-19 surged, it became clear how vulnerable these systems were, as they were at their limits or failed, even in developed countries. This needs to change. Healthcare systems need a fundamental transformation.
Without a doubt, the greatest advancement of the future will be prediction and ultimately, prevention of disease, to the benefit of healthcare systems and individuals alike, worldwide. In the case of disease, personalised treatments should be available, which are designed specifically for an individual to achieve the best possible outcome. We are still far from such high-level healthcare systems, except, perhaps, in the field of oncology, where personalised gene therapy based on individual genetic data is proving to help cure certain cancers. We should not, however, restrict personalised medicine to cancer or genetic information.
Ideally, additional information will help to apply learnings in many ways and other medical areas as well. The secret lies in further data. First, we need to fully digitise healthcare systems globally; decentralise testing, to then learn from data analytics and to apply learnings to better prevent disease, to treat disease earlier and to develop new, more effective personalised therapies. Once we have extensive data and learnings, we will be closer to the goals described.
The path to such development requires the involvement of patients themselves. As humans become more aware of their health and interested in living healthy long lives, they are more willing to track parameters, such as steps done during a day, or hours slept. The next, important milestone is offering broader home testing of e.g., blood values indicating a developing condition, which, if found early, in most cases will be resolved early, before complications show. And we will learn from that.
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Today, there are tools already allowing for home testing, or testing in pharmacies, supplying users and patients with real-time insights. However, this is not yet the state of the art. We need to be able to offer de-centralised testing broadly, which is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and gives detailed, instant feedback. To achieve this, we developed a seamless home testing system consisting of tests such as the Bloom Ferritin Test to check for iron deficiency (ID), the Bloom Thyroid Test or the Bloom Ovarian Reserve Test.
It’s no coincidence these tests are especially relevant for women, who are often more vulnerable and also usually more aware of their health. We have also started partnering with pharmaceutical and insurance companies to develop an integrated system for making prediction, prevention and the development of better medicines possible.
Meanwhile, first young women became strong advocates of home testing and Bloom, as Bloom allowed them to find low iron levels long before they may have discovered the condition through a visit to a doctor. They felt tired, became aware of the option of a quantitative ferritin home test, performed the test, and reacted appropriately, adjusting their diet, and following up with regular screenings. The early screening may have avoided fertility issues and other disorders.
At the same time, Bloom Diagnostics found meaningful insights, as correlations between age, sex, BMI, supplements taken, medication, nutrition, and other factors, which show to have an influence on ferritin levels. Bloom is building machine learning (ML) tools to further develop capabilities, which should show us ways to even prevent ID to develop at all. Up to 5 billion people globally may be affected by ID, and especially women in developing countries suffer, as no immediate access to testing is available. The option of home testing or testing in pharmacies would significantly alleviate the situation for millions of women or young mothers.
ID is just one example. Data analytics allows for insights around any measurable parameter. Beyond data analytics for single parameters, real-time information, ML and AI will help further understand and model correlations between various, different parameters and their links to genetics. In the future, clinical studies may be complemented with such data, or, in some cases, even be replaced by such real-time insights.
Home and pharmacy testing will allow for real-time insights with incomparably better feedback to users and patients than any Google search, as learnings are constantly applied and recommendations are designed by scientists for lay users. It will empower women and in the long run, everyone, to screen for risk factors and to react to first signs very early – a big step forward in healthcare.
Furthermore, a broad, de-centralised and standardised collection of anonymous and fully encrypted data will result in valuable learnings to dramatically improve the quality of global healthcare systems, health economics of global systems and, more importantly, the health of every individual.”
Dr. Angelica Kohlmann is Chair and Co-founder of Bloom Diagnostics. To learn more, please visit www.bloomdiagnostics.com.
About Bloom Diagnostics
Bloom Diagnostics is an innovative MedTech company whose hardware and software can identify a range of medical conditions, using a combination of advanced biotechnology, cloud computing and scientific research. Bloom Diagnostics’ sophisticated system allows consumers to take control of their own health. Through its next-generation technology and personalised data insights, Bloom Diagnostics applies machine learning to improve results and analyse data that may eventually help develop new therapeutics. Founded by Dr Angelica Kohlmann and Thomas Kupper in 2018, it is headquartered in Zurich and also has offices in Vienna. With a team of 60 employees, Bloom Diagnostics has plans to drive expansion across Europe and the USA. For further information, visit: www.bloomdiagnostics.com