Finnish innovation brings cancer patient clinical services to your phone

Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) Cancer Center and Adelmann Healthcare Solutions have jointly developed Noona, the mobile service that enables breast cancer patients to communicate their wellbeing to nurses and doctors via their mobile phone, PC or tablet. Tekes has funded development of this service.

Noona makes it easy for patients to contact their clinic and brings much-needed relief to the cancer clinic's increasing workload. The goal is to help cancer clinics effectively allocate resources while providing timely care for those most in need.

An estimated one in eight women will suffer from breast cancer. Thanks to advanced therapies, approximately 90% are still alive five years after diagnosis. As the population ages, the number of breast cancer patients is forecast to grow significantly in the next few years. Along with treatment, a growing component of healthcare resources is being allocated to monitoring the recovery of patients. The recovery process takes time and is very individual. A significant proportion of patients require the support of nursing staff after treatment has ended. Some patients have troublesome side effects, and some relapse many years later. Breast cancer patients are typically monitored for 5-10 years, either by specialists or basic healthcare providers, depending on the patient's place of residence. In the HUSH area alone more than 5000 breast cancer patients are currently in follow-up.

Noona facilitates closer patient-staff contact

Until now, patients have had to call the oncology department by phone to discuss their symptoms, which can be difficult, especially if the lines are busy. "As patient numbers have increased, traditional communication channels are no longer enough, therefore we need to actively develop completely new and more effective ways to take care of our patients," says HUCH Cancer Center's Medical Director, Johanna Mattsson. She has been active in developing Noona for one and a half years. "People are used to handling matters electronically when it suits them. It is natural to bring this approach to healthcare. In addition, we expect to save time and resources as more patient contact is handled electronically. Noona is one of Helsinki University Central Hospital Cancer Center's main projects, involving several breast cancer experts", Mattson adds.

Vital and secure contact with medical staff

Noona is designed to relieve the strain on nursing staff resources so they can focus on care and support for the patients most in need of personal contact. Improved quality of contact is expected to raise patient satisfaction. The founders of Adelmann, the developers of Noona, have a strong background in healthcare research. "We interviewed nearly 200 cancer patients in different studies. This helped us understand how alone people can feel after that vital contact with the healthcare professionals end. Noona provides an easy and safe way to keep in touch with more and more patients. In addition, we will generate new cancer patient data that can be used to benefit the development of cancer treatment," says Jani Ahonala, one of the founders of Adelmann Healthcare Solutions.

Exporting Finnish cancer care expertise

Digital health is of great interest in Finland and abroad. In particular, in the United States, hospitals, investors, IT companies and authorities believe that virtual services are bringing significant change to healthcare. The development of Noona has been ambitious from the start. HUCH is launching one of the world's largest e-healthcare studies to demonstrate the benefits of the Noona service. The study involves approximately 800 breast cancer patients and is scheduled to begin in Spring 2015. In 2014, HUCH Cancer Center was one of only five cancer clinics in Europe to receive the CCC quality certificate, which will strengthen global research and development collaboration. Noona offers an excellent opportunity to take Finnish cancer care expertise to the world stage.

Futrher information

Johanna Mattson
Chief Physician, HUCH Cancer Center
johanna.mattson (at)
Tel. +358 50 427 9165

Jani Ahonala
Board Chairman, Adelmann Healthcare Solutions
jani.ahonala (at)
Tel. +358 40 583 7377

Pia Mörk
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