Sometimes the best digital health solutions come from the patients themselves!

There’s an old proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and it rings true even now in our frenetic lives that have been transformed by digital. People facing real problems that require solutions are testing their entrepreneurial spirit and fixing issues, not just for themselves, but for other sufferers too!

For perspective on this, we spoke last week with Henry Anderson, owner of Brand Acoustics and a long-time digital health/social media expert in healthcare. He gave us his take on future health innovations and his belief that there will be more health solutions invented by patients themselves who refuse to accept the status quo and are empowered to create alternatives.

Tech health solutions invented by actual sufferers facing a real “problem” can have a great deal of success today!”, said, Henry.

Consider the case of Jules Goldberg, a long-time snorer, who in 2012, after his wife complained for the umpteenth time, turned to an app developer to create SnoreLab an interactive tracking app for measuring and ultimately managing his snoring – since it’s 2012 launch, it’s also helped over 6,600 other people and earned a 5 star rating.

Numerous other solutions are being created every day to change true patients problems around the world – in Brazil, Robô Laura is a great example of a cognitive chatbot created for healthcare professionals to find and report operational flaws to save resources and lives. The idea for Laura was sparked by tragedy after its inventor, Jacson Fressatto experienced the loss of his 18-day-old daughter due to septicemia. He turned his grief into passion by understanding how septicemia was ultimately responsible for his daughter’s death and then trying to prevent septicemia for others since the disease affects more than 2,5 million Brazilians every year. One parent with the potential to improve the lives of 2.5 million Brazilians is a monumental innovation.

Here in Brazil, initiatives similar to Robô Laura are seeing the light of day – consider another program, Fadas do Leite, started by Simone de Carvalho, who recognized the needs of breastfeeding moms to have, store and even share their milk. The idea led to specialized storage rooms being created in offices and public spaces so moms can store and give the milk to their children when needed or even to donate to others in need. This approach helps (in part) Brazil address a serious problem that 40% of premature babies and those with low birth weight in ICU do not have access to breast milk.

In summary, these are only three among hundreds of examples of the innovative capacity in each of us – each started from a real situation and unmet need. What seems clear from the experts is that we should not only expect to continue to see some clever solutions coming from people who’ve experienced adversity in their lives, but we should pause to celebrate and admire the determination and impact these entrepreneurs are collectively having on our lives. This is truly a good trend that we would love to see grow in 2019!

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