Riva Digital’s bet, emerging from digitalswitzerland’s Challenges, is a noble attempt to save lives by exposing a cunning killer, hypertension – the leading cause of death in Switzerland. The bet’s promise and progress were enough to win 1st place among Challenge contestants in April 2018. But unless it gets a reaction from two key groups in the next few months, Riva’s bet risks falling victim to the same sources perpetuating the disease it hopes to defeat.

Cry Wolf

The urgency for a reaction from individuals and CEO’s, lies in Riva’s wager to prove their digital tools and strategy can go beyond what has and is being been done in the fight against hypertension. Because let’s give the disease its due. Despite widespread health officials’ warnings, annual mortality rates from high blood pressure (HBP) continue to climb. Like the boy in Aesop’s Fable who cries wolf! – we’re cautioned so often about health threats, our ears are deaf to the messages (and messengers).

100’000 people

Recall back in April 2017, E-Health declared,“… the Roundtable bets that by April 2018, more than 100,000 people will be involved in the digital ecosystem and one year later these people will have demonstrably lowered their blood pressure.

If Riva gets a reaction from individuals and CEOs, it will have proof its digital tools helped lower 100K peoples’ blood pressure WITHOUT medication, WITHOUT hospitalization, WITHOUT seeing a doctor.

That’s not the idea

Dr. Thomas Guggi, Riva tech lead and full-time orthopaedic consultant at Schulthess Clinic, acknowledges 100’000 isn’t derived from a mathematical model. He said, “that’s not the idea behind it. The idea is to sensitize people to the problem, not scientifically document that we are lowering blood pressure by this single mean.”

Know your numbers

Speaking together in his office, Thomas offered an anecdote illustrating how Riva’s digital strategy and tools for raising awareness will empower HBP’s potential victims.“I had a patient this morning, a nurse, and she monitors her neighbours’ health. She knew one suffered from HBP for a long time and overheard her say, ‘Well I’m off my medication, but I’m feeling fine.’ To which the nurse replied, ‘Okay but why don’t you sit down and measure it for a change?’ She did, and amazingly, her blood pressure was 190 over 110. Bingo!* Now if people have a device or app like RIVA, they can know what range they are – and if in the red, it’s high time to see a professional

Victims +1 Perpetrators 0

With the September 2018 release of Riva Digital’s new RIVA app, HBP victims gained a new weapon in the war against hypertension. Powered by ground-breaking technology from CSEM, bundled in a slick lifestyle app developed with Riva Partners, Pryv and Altran, the world’s first oBPM (optical blood pressure monitor) app awaits your reaction to help save lives.

Numbers for CEOs

Chief Executive Officers are realists. Leading large companies with tens of thousands of employees through good times and bad, they’re expert prioritizing tasks and numbers. Two numbers with outsized impact are productivity and employee satisfactionresearch by Gallup suggests engaged workers produce more profits.

If they do the math, CEOs can expect a healthy ROI partnering with Riva – because it sends a message to employees and stakeholders that executive priorities are in the right order. Besides, the cost of doing nothing against this common enemy is high – compared to taking a meeting with Stefan Wild, which costs nothing.

e-Health literate

Many know Stefan as the hard-driving, always smiling, CEO of TopPharm, the largest group of independent pharmacies in German-speaking Switzerland. A Riva Society Board member, Stefan concedes it’s hard to place a number how much more revenue is generated by health-literate employees compared to workers distracted by health concerns (they’ve heard what they don’t know can be fatal).

Long-serving CEOs favour proactive rather than re-active management. Similarly, Stefan anticipates, “in the next 2 to 3 years, BPM will not be the only one that goes in the direction of an app. We will have a lot of other (digital health) measurements. It will save time and money to join Riva now and do the first steps in the new direction.” (to book a meeting with Stefan, e-mail Riva, c/o Kathatrina Guggi: info@rivadigital.ch).

Sickcare vs. healthcare

Jan Vichr, Founding Partner, Canopei, gave this account of executive priorities: “I see it as my personal and my company’s mission to transform “sickcare” to healthcare and empower people to live healthier and happier lives. Therefore, we invest in disruptive technology start-ups with the focus on preventive and consumer-centric health and wellness. Riva Digital is 100% in line with this mission.”

Networking with e-Health leaders and media presence were reasons Ruben Gonzalez, CEO Cardio Medic AG, joined Riva Digital. Asked how Riva benefits top executives, Ruben said, “The benefit of the population is also a personal benefit, whether CEO or MD. Only a healthy population can achieve longer-term goals.”

Too young to care?

If you’re under 40 and think HBP is no concern, observe the nightmare affair a young Swiss endured:

“I was 27 years old and went for an eye exam. The optometrist noticed a change in the background of my eyes. She sent me to a GP to have my blood pressure (BP) checked. The GP put me on 24-hour BP monitoring device. Next day, I’m working in an open space and device is buzzing every 20 min. Each time it went off I stood up and left the office, not wanting to annoy my colleagues. It all added up to a false set of data and instead of more BP measurements, the doctor put me on beta blockers.”

FYI, beta blockers are medication that reduce BP by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, (a.k.a. adrenaline). Side effects may include headache, fatigue and in some cases, depression. “I had little to no drive. Didn’t see any sense in what I was doing. Everything was slow motion. I’d be sitting at my desk, literally thinking, ‘Why the heck am I going to work?’ I called the doctor and said, ‘Listen, I’m having these and these side effects … and I’d rather die being happy – than a vegetable like this …”

Falsely diagnosed

Now in his late 30’s, I asked to share his story for readers who believe they’re too young to worry about hypertension. He winced, the unpleasant affair clearly not forgotten, “Sure … I might not be the only one falsely diagnosed.” Besides he said, “Knowing about blood pressure’s importance, knowing how behaviours and emotions effect your BP, the earlier you start establishing a healthy lifestyle the better.”

React now

Download and open the RIVA app. In 30 seconds, it gives you a reading like 120/80. Measure again tomorrow and know if your BP measurements are green (all good), yellow (a little high) or red (visit your doctor). Taking one’s BP measurement with the app directly supports Riva’s bet – and offers users peace of mind – or early warning against hypertension.

Get the app on Android or iOS. A web portal is opening soon on Riva’s website. Check out cool prizes and fun contests Riva Partners are offering to reward your help in fighting hypertension.

Author’s note: check out previous coverage tracking Riva Digital’s improbable 12-month journey from raucous roundtable to first-place finish in challenge Season One.

12.02.2018       Riva bets your life on winning its challenge

28.02.2018       Riva Digital’s Grand Experiment

* A systolic reading (upper number) above 140 or diastolic reading (lower number) above 90 are classified as Stage 2 HBP and cause for concern. Discover more at rivadigital.ch (in DE/FR/EN).