Vigo as the first state-reimbursed digital therapeutics in the Baltics

Digital therapy software Vigo is tailored to aid every patient in their post-stroke recovery, making the therapy process more convenient and accessible. Recently Vigo has been included in Latvian National Health Service manipulation list and assigned a procedural code. Meaning this is the first digital therapeutic solution in Baltics to be reimbursed by the government in near future.

Stroke recovery application Vigo is developed in cooperation with the largest rehabilitation centre in Latvia – NRC “Vaivari”. It is a unique post-stroke recovery tool offering patients a comprehensive multimodal therapy (physical therapy, information on everyday living, cognitive-behavioral therapy tools and much more) in a single device.

Moving forward one step at a time

When the State adopts the final decision to cover the cost of Vigo, the app would be available to the residents free of charge. Then hospitals, insurance companies and other healthcare institutions will be able to offer it as a post-stroke rehab. The state reimbursement programme can significantly improve the availability of rehabilitation, serving thousands of patients each year, starting as soon as in 2022.

“This is a major step forward for all med-tech startups not only in Latvia, but in the whole Baltic region. Although there are many med-tech solutions available on the market in Baltics, government reimbursement will significantly improve availability of such technologies, thus speeding up the recovery process, resulting in better rehabilitation outcomes.” says Kristaps Krafte, the co-founder and CEO of Vigo Health.
We are in a situation where there is a significant human resource insufficiency within the medical field in Latvia and Europe overall. He states that the advances of artificial intelligence and technology in general is an important factor in medical service quality improvements and availability maintenance.

The number of strokes is increasing each year

Around 17 million strokes occur globally each year and this number is estimated to increase by the year 2035 due to our sedentary and stressful lifestyle. Stroke is one of the main reasons for long-term disability and psychological problems (f.e.depression, anxiety and other). In Latvia alone around 8 000 patients suffer from stroke each year.

“The current state-offered post-stroke rehabilitation solutions are limited, therefore the activities after the acute stage lie on the shoulders of the closest relatives. Usually it is a difficult time for the whole family which creates many physical and psychological challenges,” Kristaps designates that during this time Vigo will act as a guide helping the stroke patient and their family to continue the rehabilitation process at home.

“During the first six months post stroke the patient is most likely to regain the majority of their lost abilities. That’s why the time is of the essence and it is crucial to start rehabilitation as soon as possible. For most patients it may take months, or even years to fully recover.” says K. Krafte.

Incresing the availability of rehabilitation

During his studies in Copenhagen Business School Kristaps has been researching post-stroke care in two large hospitals Bispebjerg hospital (Denmark, Copenhagen) and Paula Stradiņa Clinical University hospital (Latvia, Riga). After graduating in summer of 2018 Kristaps decided to return to Latvia and continue solving stroke related issues.

Upon his return to Latvia, he encountered his co-founder, neurosurgeon dr. Janis Slezins the idea of Vigo came to life. And starting from May 2020, digital post-stroke therapy app is available on the Latvian market. For now, it is only communicating with patients in Latvian, but is currently being translated to English and will be available in other languages.

Vigo is suitable for patients who have not entirely lost their cognitive ability, as it communicates with the person via chat messages. It offers a wide range of personalised rehabilitation features and cognitive-behavioral therapy based conversations in a simple interface. Therefore it will be easy to grasp for the elderly or those less familiar with technology.

In the summer of 2020 Vigo Health partnered with Riga Stradins University to conclude a pre-clinical trial. During this trial researchers followed stroke patients therapy progress for a month while they were exercising with Vigo. The results of this trial indicate a considerable improvement in patients’ health parameters.

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