From idea to a working concept
“Our story begins with my childhood experiences of spending a lot of time at my granny’s home in North Karelia, where I first encountered the problems of home pharmacotherapy. Even though I understood very little about what was happening at that time, the experience left a very strong impression and greatly influenced my own subsequent decisions,” explains Mika Apell, who founded Evondos and originally conceived its business idea.
“I remember when the nurse came to refill granny’s red pill organizer. My granny was a garrulous North Karelian who would always be eager to chat, offering coffee and buns while the nurse was trying to focus on filling the pill organizer correctly. The nurse would nevertheless concentrate on arranging the medication, giving only the briefest of responses that were often reduced to mere nods of the head. I also found some pills on the floor once, but luckily my mother noticed in time to stop me from eating them.”
“Granny deserved more attention and human interaction, but instead her nurses had to pay close attention to arranging her medication correctly and avoiding mistakes. Even then some human errors occurred occasionally,” Mika continues.
“During adult education at the University of Turku in 2007, we teamed up with other students for a project. Shared experiences of pharmacotherapy problems led to the idea of helping the daily lives of senior citizens and their carers, with the team even developing the first version of a medicine dispenser in 2009.”
It still took years of painstaking and persistent work to develop the medicine-dispensing robot from a mere early prototype into a working service concept.
The first practical prototype emerged in 2012, with the company filing its first patent applications at this time. Encouraging customer comments at this stage justified the decision to press ahead with R&D and to bring more expertise in financing the operation and subsequently solving the problems of initiating production.
Clinical trials began in 2013, with conditions for launching sales and marketing satisfied when the company gained its CE mark in March 2014. The first robots were then delivered to customers.
“It has been wonderful to be part of this process as Evondos has evolved from an idea to a working service concept. We have an opportunity to do something really worthwhile and promote well-being in society through a service that liberates care staff from the mechanical work of medicine dispensing so that they can focus on functions that require a human touch. Carers can now concentrate on people and on quality of care,” Mika Apell enthuses.