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New site aims to facilitate patient led innovations

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New site aims to facilitate patient led innovations

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The last few years have seen a number of projects form that aim to involve patients much more in the healthcare process.  Whilst there have been many sites that have solicited reviews and feedback from patients, they’re not the kind of sites that I’m talking about, interesting though they are.

Far more interesting are the sites forming that aim to tap into the experience of patients to directly devise better solutions to problems.  One nice approach to this comes via WellSpringboard.  The platform concept was a simple one.  A person has an idea for a research project.  They then record a video explaining their idea.  WellSpringboard then post this video to the site, give it a funding goal and then promote the idea via their social media channels.

Once enough people have funded the project, it is then opened up to researchers who apply to carry out the research.  These applications are reviewed by a combination of the general public and a board of scientists.  So it’s a combination of crowdsourcing ideas and crowdfunding the research.

A similar approach was taken by MedCrowdPitch, a site whereby patients can chose researchers by watching videoclips. In these clips the researchers promote and present themselves and the research that they have been doing.

A new site operating along similar lines has recently emerged out of Portugal.  The site, called Patient Innovation, was launched earlier this year and aims to facilitate the sharing of solutions developed by patients and caregivers to any disease.  They believe that there is a lot of innovative potential within each patients that is currently going untapped.

The site was created by Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, in partnership with MIT Sloan and Carnegie Melon.  The kind of solutions patients can devise are pretty widespread, from new/modified devices to better alternatives to existing solutions.  The site accepts solutions that are at any stage of development, or even just a tiny acorn of an idea.

Each solution submitted to the site will go through a screening process that will identify firstly whether an idea is of a dubious or dangerous nature.  Those that make it past that stage will then be screened to identify and remove posts that are considered offensive or inappropriate, that do not qualify as a solution proposal, that involve drugs, chemicals or biologics, that consist of invasive devices, or that are visibly and intrinsically dangerous.  Interestingly however they don’t seek to validate the proposals in a scientific way.

The reasoning for this is that the site expects many of the solutions submitted to the site to be of a practical rather than scientific nature, therefore they won’t require a huge amount of validation from the site.  They also expect the community themselves to provide a moderating type facility, with comments and ratings expected to be given for each solution.

It’s certainly an interesting approach and allows a slightly more focused method of obtaining feedback than are typically available via the various review sites for doctors and/or facilities.  It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

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