Patients as entrepreneurs

Emily Lu a.single.drop@gmail.com
Darla Brown darla@intake.me
Molly Lindquist molly@consano.org
Michael Seres michael@11health.com

Abstract

Ask any successful entrepreneur for tips on what made them so and they will respond: “Know your customer!” Know what makes them tick. Know their needs and wants. Know their pain. It has also been said that, “Customers think of problems, while entrepreneurs think of solutions.” So why do some patients become healthcare entrepreneurs while others do not? And why should more patients get involved in healthcare startups? 

We are entering a new era in healthcare where patients are beginning to increasingly and visibly take charge of their health and the health of their family members. A few patients have taken this further, starting companies that create tools, platforms and innovations that arm the growing “ePatient” movement and have become “ePatient Entrepreneurs”.

Being an ePatient Entrepreneur goes beyond “giving back” or “paying it forward”. They have been through the trenches and they know the systems. They talk daily with other patients and hear their stories. They know through firsthand experience the inefficiencies in our healthcare system and they want to fix it so that others can have better outcomes and experiences. Though not every patient can or should become an entrepreneur, every patient story and experience matters.

 We will also discuss other ways for patients to get involved in this movement. For example, Intake.Me has an ePatient Advisory Board that it regularly garners feedback from on its product. The feedback provided directly impacts their product roadmap and makes it more useful for patients. In turn, Intake.Me and other companies listening to the patient perspective, promote ePatients’ stories and advocacy work, creating an impactful feedback loop. The key question becomes why doesn’t every healthcare company have Patient Advisors? 

 Our panelists are all cancer survivors that have taken their personal struggle with cancer to develop a variety of tools and initiatives to empower patients.

Possible topics to fuel the discussion:

●      How does the ePatient movement make it easier than ever for patients to get involved in improving our healthcare system?

●      Why is patient-centric design so important and what are some ways patients can influence product design, provide feedback, and make a difference?

●      Other than insights into the condition itself, when do patients make good entrepreneurs and when not?

●      How do ePatient Entrepreneurs ensure they understand the conditions and challenges and needs of the larger community beyond their personal experience?

●      How do ePatient Entrepreneurs find partners to be successful?

●      Do ePatient Entrepreneurs have more success with direct-to-consumer/patient tools vs. figuring out how to integrate into larger health care systems?

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