AI application for treatment of gestational diabetes

CleverHealth Network, an ecosystem coordinated by HUS, is launching a development project to support the treatment of gestational diabetes with a new digital service model based on artificial intelligence.

About 52,000 women give birth in Finland every year, and 18 per cent of them – nearly 10,000 – are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Of these, roughly half develop type 2 diabetes later on. This adds up to 5,000 new diabetics a year, whose total treatment costs for diabetes and its complications can rise to EUR 28 million.

CleverHealth Network, an ecosystem coordinated by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), is now launching its first development project with funding granted by Business Finland. The project aims to improve the treatment and monitoring of gestational diabetes by developing a mobile application for measuring the mother’s blood glucose levels, physical activity, nutrition, pulse and daily weight and storing it in the cloud in real time.

“By improving lifestyle during pregnancy, we can probably reduce the number of mothers who will develop type 2 diabetes as well as the health risks to the child, thereby also improving the health of future generations. The application will help the patient to learn how her diet, activity and sleep affect blood glucose levels and weight gain and, consequently, the course of the pregnancy and the newborn’s health,” says Saila Koivusalo, research director of the project and specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology.

The application will forward the lifestyle and glucose data in real time to health care personnel, who can provide guidance and support as needed. This means that the application is integrated into the care pathway instead of being a separate element, which is its greatest benefit compared to other health applications.

“With this service, we can offer even better, modern treatment. The service will also increase the efficiency of the treatment process for women with gestational diabetes, as the number of appointments requiring a hospital visit is expected to decrease,” Koivusalo says.

AI enables proactive, more individual treatment

The project will make use of machine learning to provide guidance and treatment that are in line with the patient’s risk profile and meet her individual needs. Artificial intelligence also makes it possible to draw up predictions of both the mother’s and the child’s future health.

“This means, for example, that we can predict future blood glucose levels and propably also the newborn’s weight and adiposity in an unprecedented way. The application uses these predictions to give feedback automatically and advise the mother in making compensatory choices,” Koivusalo explains.

The development projects of CleverHealth Network bring together the health technology competence of Finnish enterprises, leading experts in health care and high-quality health data collected by HUS. The main partners in the gestational diabetes project are HUS, Elisa, Fujitsu, Aalto University and the University of Helsinki.

“Elisa brings to the project its remote measurement platform, which enables the remote treatment of patients. Physical activity data and blood glucose levels, for example, are sent to the platform from measurement devices. The data are forwarded via the mobile application to the system of health care professionals. The project offers a great opportunity to contribute to creating new digital solutions that address real clinical needs,” says Tuomas Mäkynen, director of Elisa’s health care services.

Fujitsu is in charge of data integration and modelling to make the data compatible with HUS’s data lake and the national Personal Health Record (Kanta PHR), in which citizens can store data on their health and wellbeing based on their own measurements. Fujitsu will also design the user interface for health care personnel.

“We are going to combine technologies that we have developed in Japan and Finland to create a new service platform suitable for utilizing sensor data, analytics and AI. Meaningful visualisation of data is particularly important when designing a user interface for health care professionals: all key data and significant deviations must be clearly visible in one view,” says Ville Väärälä, Client Executive at Fujitsu.

“HUS’s unique data and the maternity hospital of the Helsinki University Hospital – one of the largest in Europe – provide an excellent environment for cooperation between various stakeholders. Integrating service development into clinical practice and high-quality research offers a remarkable opportunity to revise the prevention and treatment of our national diseases. The agility of the CleverHealth Network ecosystem has enabled rapid progress, and now we can start the concrete development of new services in this first development project,” says Aki Lindén, CEO of HUS, contentedly.

For further information, please contact:

Mirka Tammi, Project Director, CleverHealth Network, HUS, tel. +358 40 657 5331,

Saila Koivusalo, Research Director, Gestational Diabetes Project, tel. +358 40 725 0620,

Visa Honkanen, Director Strategic Development, HUS, tel. +358 50 427 5023,

CleverHealth Network, established in 2017, is a health technology ecosystem in which companies and health care experts develop better treatment solutions for Finns and successful export products for companies. Product and service innovations are based on HUS’s extensive health data and the leading expertise of clinicians. The participants of the ecosystem, funded by Business Finland, include BCB Medical, BC Platforms, CGI, Elisa, Fujitsu, GE, HUS, IBM, Innofactor, Microsoft, Nokia, Noona, Planmeca, Reaktor and Tieto.