Tor 25 jul / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

Internet of Things gives personalised incontinence care

The world is changing and the demand for innovative hygiene and health products is increasing at a high speed. Pressure on healthcare funding and staff, the acceleration of home care and an increasing importance of sustainability consumerization are three major trends within the health and medical area looking into the future.

Sofia Hagman, Global Innovation Director.

Essity, who is the leading global player in incontinence products with the TENA brand, is meeting the needs by adopting technology and digitalization into some of the most standard hygiene and health products to reach new levels of service and effectiveness. This means using Internet of Things to analyze data to raise the standard of care and find smarter solutions to reduce waste and increase efficiency. 

Sofia Hagman, Global Innovation Director iQ Solutions at Essity gives a concreate example of the future within incontinence care, with the development of a wearable bladder sensor:

“Not having sufficient control over the bladder is an emotional problem as well as physical one. Incontinence affects 4-8% of the world’s adult population. This means that there are around 400,000 million incontinent people in the world. Through a compact, wireless, and wearable bladder sensor, ultrasound detects how full the bladder is and warns you when it’s time to go to the toilet by gently vibrating or sending a notification to your phone. So no one else sees or hears anything. You simply add a specially developed plaster to stick the device on the lower abdomen to reduce the risk of any accidents.”

“Our innovation strategy is based on developing new solutions in close collaboration with healthcare providers and consumers”, Hagman continues. “What we see in this work is that we add most value to our users if we focus on prevention. As part of that strategy, Essity strengthened its offering in incontinence products through the acquisition of the Dutch company Novioscan in 2020. The technology SENS-U was developed by Novioscan for incontinent children to help them understand when the bladder needs to be emptied and to give them a notification when it is time to go to the bathroom before a urine leakage happens.”

Essity immediately saw great development potential in Novioscan, above all in taking the existing product to the next level and adapting it for adults to promote continence management.
Preventive care is where the development is happening right now.

“There are a variety of techniques and products that are interesting to us when we want to work more with prevention. The acquisition of Novioscan is a clear step for Essity to become more preventive and comprehensive as a partner in the development of future incontinence care.” says Sofia Hagman.

Essity believe that partnerships are key to success to break barriers and the stigma associated with incontinence to improve well-being and help people live life to the fullest. They collaborate with customers, consumers, suppliers, other partners and community representatives.

“We spend a lot of time with both care providers and users who get to describe their everyday life and how they would like it to change for the better. We also investigate technology opportunities in other industries and see it as our duty to try to find a match where digital technology can create opportunities to help our target audience even more. It is our driving force”, says Sofia Hagman.