Crowdsourcing Healthcare: How Leveraging the Diabetes Community Can Foster Innovation
A medical degree is a useful thing, but nothing trumps first-hand knowledge of a condition. This is why, among all the recent advances in health care, one of the most promising is the transformation of the industry from a top-down model to one in which everyone can participate.
In centuries past, every society had its medical elites, whose prescriptions for health and disease went largely unchallenged. (Blood-sucking leeches for all, regardless of condition!) Despite the occasional dubious call, physicians were revered – and still are – for their uniquely rigorous training, their 24-7 devotion to the profession, and their healing powers, which, until germ theory evolved, seemed to derive from some alchemy of magic and miracle.
But this authoritarian model had a cost. It excluded the wisdom of the patient, the person actually experiencing the condition.
Enter technology, wearing a cape.
Over the past few decades, technology has smashed ossified walls and allowed a new system to emerge: one in which everyone’s ideas matter. From diagnostic websites such as Crowdmed, where ordinary people can help to unravel perplexing conditions, to funding sources such as Indiegogo, where innovative devices such as ours can obtain a much-deserved boost, the Internet is enabling healthy living like never before. It’s the wisdom of a global body, multiplying daily, and it’s a welcome plot twist. In the Latin of physicians, Deus ex machine.
What’s happening is no less than a total transformation of healthcare, and we will all be healthier for it.
At the edge of this revolution is the outsourcing of services and products that once were the exclusive domain of hospitals and other providers. When they realized that others could do certain things for less money – and, in many cases, better — they let go, opened the fist, and found that services improved overall when they spent their time on what they could do best.
Meanwhile, technology was enabling personal connection, creating communities that had not previously existed. Thirty years ago, a person living with diabetes might have known one or two other people with the condition. Now, they’re only a few clicks away from the experience and knowledge of 377 million other people – and every one of us has something to contribute, whether it is inspiration, the thoughtful articulation of a problem, or — oh happy day! — a solution.
For me, a simple device to make diabetes management easier grew out of daily frustration that I knew others shared: trying to remember when I last had an insulin shot. I’m not a doctor, but I had a problem and found a way to fix it, and life with diabetes immediately got easier – not only for me, but for people all over the world.
Now, there’s another need: getting Timesulin into the United States, where 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and overall about 6.7 million take insulin for both T1 and T2 diabetes. Once again, technology flies in to the rescue, supplying a fast track via Indiegogo.
Crowdfunding platforms can speed the delivery of new devices and treatments, and they give patients power they’ve rarely had in the past: the power to choose the best ways to manage their health, and the power to help others do the same.
In helping to bring Timesulin to the United States via Indiegogo, people living with diabetes are helping themselves, and, at the same time, helping others. If you’re one of them, it’s you, not technology, that should be wearing that cape.
Help us by donating today and pre-ordering your own Timesulin to help us reach our goal of getting Timesulin into the hands of Americans who need it!