The recent pandemic put a strain on all of us, but especially on those who needed hospital care even before the COVID virus became prominent. Patients who required continuous care after a hospital stay suffered as medical facility shutdowns and restrictions increased. And without that kind of in-person support, patients grew more and more isolated as conditions remained. The healthcare sector became progressively understaffed, making it challenging for healthcare workers to maintain a proper work-life balance.
The team behind Tomopiia recognized this problem and wondered, “How can we support patients online?"
Junichiro Shigemura pitched his venture idea to Moon Creative Lab: a platform that helps patients with chronic illnesses track their care and communicate directly with nurses. The platform, which he named Tomopiia, provides a new form of communication inspired by the needs of both nurses and patients.
Improving patients’ quality of life is a nurse’s true purpose. As some of the closest healthcare professionals to patients, nurses can often become optimistic cheerleaders, giving patients hope in dark and despairing times.
Unfortunately, the pandemic caused hospitals to hit an all-time high with patients filling more hospital beds than ever before. Rather than taking time with each patient to make sure their physical and emotional needs were met, the focus shifted to treating and discharging patients as quickly as possible.
Because of these new conditions, an increasing number of nurses started to leave the healthcare field, overwhelmed by their everyday tasks. It became more and more difficult for nurses to find enough hours in the day to thoughtfully care for each patient and still maintain their own lives outside of the hospital.
Seeing all of these changes for both patients and nurses, Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) Junichiro Shigemura knew he had to create something that could dramatically improve the lives of both parties.
Shigemura set out to create a platform where patients can communicate directly with nurses anytime, anywhere. Many issues can be solved through remote communication, allowing patients to get the care and information they need without the hassles and obstacles of going to the hospital in person.
In fact, patients who share their concerns with their nurse actually find that the communication helps them better express their thoughts and feelings. Through user feedback, the Tomopiia team found that some patients tell nurses things they had never told their doctor, family, or even friends. Opening up to a nurse can give patients peace of mind and build a trusted line of communication and mental support.
This new form of interacting with patients also allows more flexibility for nurses and the ways in which they provide care, allowing the opportunity for better work-life balance.
At its start, Tomopiia’s intention was to support patient independence and improve their quality of life through better medical guidance. But through a series of conversations and open dialogue, Shigemura realized that it was the communication line itself that engaged potential users. "One patient told me, 'I realized my true feelings by speaking up for myself.’ That's when I realized the importance of listening to what the patient wants to say rather than asking what they needed to know. It meant a lot to the patients that the nurses were the ones listening to them from a comfortable distance."
As a result, Tomopiia’s goal and purpose has shifted to focusing more on closer and more direct communication between patients and medical professionals rather than knowledge and consultation.
Tomopiia's aim is to create a platform that supports patients, creating an environment where each patient feels valued – something that can be hard to do with existing medical practices. Additionally, the intent of Tomopiia is to create an environment that enables nurses to provide enhanced levels of care and communication.
In the future, Tomopiia plans to collaborate with local governments, companies, and hospitals that share the mission of improving the quality, efficiency, and accessibility of medical care. Shigemura expressed, "I would like to contribute to both the psychological care of patients and the expansion of opportunities for nurses to play an active role.”
For the latest information about Tomopiia, please visit Tomopiia's official website.
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