This article has been prepared in collaboration with TechBBQ.
Almost ten years ago, Søren Würtz constantly encountered the same problem. He worked as an occupational health and safety advisor and was visited every month by his patient Helene, who suffered from a work-related elbow problem. But although he kept relieving the injury, it always returned. Because the way Helene worked didn’t change. This is how the idea for Precure came about, which was founded in 2016 by Søren Würtz, Jønne Marcher, Carsten Scheibye and Finn Bech Andersen and today has several investments and a growing team behind it.
The health technology company from Allinge is behind a preventive and high-tech platform. Included are ‘smart-wearables’; clothing technology that uses sensors to measure employees’ bodies and give them a digital overview of how much they are stressing themselves. When a strain wears inappropriately and could eventually become problematic, the accompanying app helps the user change harmful movement habits.
“The difference between us and many other health technology companies is that we are preventative. And then we document the impact so the customer can see the improvement achieved. There is huge, huge potential in working in an interventional way. Simply avoiding wear and tear injuries that so many Danes – especially from manufacturing industries – suffer from today. It’s easier to heal an injury that hasn’t happened,” says Finn Bech Andersen, CEO of Precure.
The patented MLI technology, as the product line is called, so far includes a solution for the lower back and elbow, while a shoulder version is under development.
Smart sleeve from Precure in use at a warehouse.
A new public health disease
Physical fatigue is seen by many as an unknown public health disease, and according to the National Board of Health, musculoskeletal disorders account for 25 percent of all long-term sick leave over eight weeks. Seven out of ten Danes regularly experience pain and discomfort in their joints and muscles, and in 2020 this type of illness accounted for 31% of all reports to the Danish Working Environment Authority and the Danish Labour Market Insurance.
It most often involves lifting and carrying, pushing and pulling, repetitive work and poor posture and from employees especially in transport, slaughter, soil and concrete production and delivery industries. Therefore, Precure’s solution is not only welcome for the employees. Companies also benefit from the large dashboard to which the solution constantly sends data.
“Through our data, companies get a very precise overview of structural and overall workflows and processes. It provides insight into inefficient or exhausting parts of the production line and ideas on how to reduce the workload; for example, by arranging things differently or automating a given function. With our solution, companies can take much better care of their employees’ health, which is worth its weight in gold in most places,” says Finn Bech Andersen.
Fact: “Bridging the Gap”
- The project “Bridging the Gap – A more connected life science ecosystem” aims to network and connect across the life science sector (between biotech, medtech, healthtech and welfaretech etc). At the same time, the project aims to connect the life science sector with the rest of the entrepreneurial community in Denmark and the Nordic region.
- TechBBQ acts as a facilitator and catalyst in establishing networks where everyone is closer to each other and can benefit from each other’s knowledge.
- The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
- Read more and see the ecosystem mapping here: https://techbbq.dk/bridging-the-gap/
Growing with companies
Internationally, the potential in the field of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is huge. In a 2015 EU survey, three out of five Europeans reported suffering from at least one muscle or joint-related disorder.
That’s why Precure, which today has more than 1,500 users and 30 corporate customers, including Tryg, Novozymes, Radiometer and Beck Liner, made a conscious choice not to target its products at a specific healthcare system. Instead, the company will grow and the products will evolve in collaboration with companies. A global strategy.
“If we made a solution for the Danish healthcare system, it would require adaptation to other markets and other challenges. So the growth strategy from the start has been that we develop solutions, grow and move out with our customers, because companies find that there is no difference between the challenges of employees in the US or Germany,” the CEO says of the strategy.
In the long term, Precure wants to be behind a digital revolution of the work environments around companies. And would like to see MLI technology take on more dimensions along the way.
“One possible development would be to look at the mental health aspect of the work environment, looking at the mineral composition of sweat, the elasticity of the skin, noise and heat. This could lead to holistic solutions to how individuals thrive – both physically and mentally.”
“To that end, it will be important in our further development that we get inspiration from other sectors and industries, because there are a lot of approaches to how to work with data processing and sensor technology. And we firmly believe that we can make a big difference for companies and employees. We do that today and we want to do more in the future,” explains Finn Bech Andersen.
Q&A: Morten Mølgaard Jensen, CEO – Copenhagen Bio Science Park
– Why is it important for companies in the life science industry to improve their ability to work together across (biotech, medtech, healthtech, etc.) in this country?
“When we look at the market development in life science in general, there is a clear trend that disciplines are mixing more and more, and translational projects are growing rapidly. There is super valuable experience to be gained by letting the individual industries inspire each other, and today it is probably almost impossible to launch a new device or service without an accompanying data component (app, platform, etc.).
When this can be done in a Nordic perspective, it is both about critical mass (the more startups, the higher the chance of a successful match), but also because a common Nordic project stands stronger in international competition when it comes to attracting skills and capital. If a new product or service is validated in more than one market, it is all the more interesting in a global context.”
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