Q&A with Anna Baecklund, CTO & Founder at Oppioo

Media 7 | January 1, 1900

Anna Baecklund, CTO & Founder at Oppioo, is a Data Scientist Leader, A skilled communicator capable of explaining complex issues with clarity to diverse audiences. With MSc in engineering physics, Anna is responsible for leading innovation using data science including the development of new insights, advanced modelling techniques, and AI capabilities. With Oppio, An AI companion app, she aims to motivate cancer patients who want to speed up and improve their rehab.

AI-enabled precision health tools can identify potential risks and suggest preventative interventions.

MEDIA7: You have a long career experience in diverse fields ranging from teaching physics and mathematics to being a Data Scientist Leader. How has all this experience helped you play your current role at Oppioo?
ANNA BAECKLUND:
My diverse set of experiences has helped a lot working with Oppioo; all from product development, to data handling, and to pitching to investors. After receiving my MSc in engineering physics, I worked as a quantitative analyst and data scientist in finance for several years before starting as head of data science at a major Swedish retail firm and CTO at Oppioo. As a result, I have a solid knowledge of data analysis as well as handling personal data and security issues – which is important not only in finance and retail but also in MedTech. As technology focuses more on integrating applications, processes, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, a CTO must follow the frontier of big data, streaming analytics, and cloud technology to remain innovative and stay competitive.Diverse skills allow you to think about specific problems in a different and often more strategic way. By being able to look at a problem from different angles and draw on a wealth of (not immediately relevant) experience, you can come up with innovative and creative solutions.All this experience is beneficial for developing an ai-driven patient-centered digital companion.


M7: You have recently partnered with 180 Degrees Consulting. Tell us about some developments at Oppioo that all of you are excited about
AB:
We have partnered with two great teams at 180 Degrees consulting and the London School of Economics. We are working together to get deeper market and customer insights that will be valuable in the development of both our product and business model. We are excited about the business opportunity this understanding gives us.


Limit time-wasting activities and people. Try to draw boundaries so that you can devote quality time to high-priority people and activities.



M7: What are the challenges that you face regarding handling AI technologies at Oppioo?
AB:
At Oppioo we want to improve the health of cancer patients, improve the patient experience and reduce the costs of health care. To do so, we need to work with patient data which means a lot of legal challenges. Medical data is sensitive and subject to privacy regulations that vary across jurisdictions. Companies that develop AI solutions for health care and medicine can run afoul of privacy laws if they’re not careful, and the MedTech industry is still finding the balance between access to data and protecting sensitive health data. Apart from data privacy concerns, there is also the issue of regulations. We want to be classified as a medical device to be able to give AI-driven individual healthcare advice to patients. However, it’s a time-consuming and difficult process to obtain CE marking. In fact, most of the challenges in AI are not technical applications of AI. There is the question of the quality and usability of data. In other industries, data is generally reliable and accurately measured (such as velocity data to predict highway traffic).  In healthcare, data can be subjective, and often inaccurate.


M7: What’s top of the list for what Oppioo wants to achieve by the end of this year and as you start moving into the next year?
AB:
At the end of this year, we aim to launch our product and get our first paying users. We are developing our platform together with cancer patients and health care providers to make it patient-centered. This is the biggest milestone we want to achieve and will be the start of our funding round. Next year will start with a post-product launch where we focus on understanding how well our product is accepted by end-users so that we can improve it. We will also continue building our community and expanding and strengthening our collaborations.


Diverse skills allow you to think about specific problems in a different and often more strategic way.



M7: Few years down the line, how do you see AI changing the world around us? Especially in the healthcare industry?
AB:
The future of AI in healthcare can be defined as better medical outcomes achieved through more accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment, as well as more informed and engaged patients empowered with easy access to healthcare support. AI will help us develop precision medicine and individualized healthcare with the patient in the center.  Precision health is a relatively new solution focused on preventative care which is based on patient data collected from genetic information, wearable devices and electronic health systems. Using information such as a patient’s lifestyle, genetic makeup, environment, and biometric healthcare data, AI-enabled precision health tools can identify potential risks and suggest preventative interventions.


M7: What are some of your preferred marketing channels given your target customers?
AB:
We want our users to start using Oppioo as early as possible during the cancer treatment, ideally already at the diagnosis stage. Hence Oppioo initially needs to be present where the newly diagnosed cancer patients are looking for information, such as health care providers, cancer societies, the regional or national care guides and social media groups. Therefore, established collaborations with reliable organizations and a frequent presence in social media channels are keys to our distribution chain. We are dependent on our network of collaboration partners, and every time we want to enter a market we need to find collaboration partners, such as local physiotherapists, health care providers etc. that are willing to promote the benefits of using Oppioo from an early stage of the cancer treatment.  The user can of course use Oppioo without these collaborations as well, but we believe that the best results will be reached when the user is supported by health care providers.


M7: Congratulations on being listed as one of the top ten talents in the Tech Vertical in the Swedish Nova 111-list. What is your secret to maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life?
AB:
Thank you! I’m honored and grateful to have been included as one of the change-makers in Technology in Sweden.
My first advice is to work with something you enjoy since you spend so many hours of your day at work. But a more in-depth answer is that it’s very, very difficult to maintain a healthy balance even if you like what you work with. I think that work-life balance can be seen as a cycle, not an achievement; something to thrive for, that constantly changes with life. With that being said, I have a few life-hacks that I tend to come back to. The first is exercise and meditation.You can start small, e.g. by booking walking meetings instead of sitting in front of the computer. Ask yourself what’s currently causing you stress. Rethink your priorities, and put in time in the calendar now and then to reflect. A rational understanding of the decisions and priorities driving your life is important but equally important is emotional reflexivity - that is, the capacity to recognize how a situation is making you feel. Awareness of your emotional state is essential in order to determine the changes you want to make in your work and in your life. And last but not least: limit time-wasting activities and people. Try to draw boundaries so that you can devote quality time to high-priority people and activities. I personally like the Pomodoro Technique to help me focus.

ABOUT OPPIOO

Oppioo is a patient-centered product that supports patients to plan and execute physical activity in conjunction with the treatment plan. Oppioo predicts what activity gives optimal effect and when during the cancer treatment based on patient data and the patient’s energy level. To do so, Oppioo collects activity data from the user’s smartphone and user feedback to create a personalized automated coaching plan with the help of AI models. Oppioo allows for sharing data with health care providers.

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Oppioo

Oppioo is a patient-centered product that supports patients to plan and execute physical activity in conjunction with the treatment plan. Oppioo predicts what activity gives optimal effect and when during the cancer treatment based on patient data and the patient’s energy level. To do so, Oppioo col...

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