Patient Innovation (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)
The Patient Innovation (PI) project is an international, multilingual, non-profit platform, and social network that connects patients and caregivers of any disease and geography, and enables the sharing of solutions developed by them to cope with a limitation related with the medical condition that they face. The problem or challenge experienced by a user may be similar to that of many other patients and caregivers; thus, posting and sharing the developed solutions will help others to solve their own challenges. If not shared, these strategies, treatments, devices, and knowledge would probably remain unknown to many patients, not fulfilling their potential to change the lives of others.
Patients often develop novel solutions to help them cope with a need imposed by a health condition and couldn’t find any solution in the market. PI started as an academic repository of medical innovations developed by patients, caregivers and collaborators, and has grown into a multilingual platform that encourages people from all around the world to post, share, discuss and evaluate solutions, tips and adaptations that make life more comfortable and happier for the community. PI has become a centralized place for posting and sharing innovative solutions that help improve people’s lives – those who developed a solution and others with similar needs. PI is thus working with two SDGs (GOAL 3 and GOAL 9), integrating global social innovation in order to promote effective health solutions that will provide significant cost reductions.
PI was born in February 2014: an open online platform for patients (develop solutions for themselves), caregivers (develop solutions for loved ones), and collaborators (develop solutions for someone outside their circle of family/friends) of any disease and geography to share their innovations with other with similar needs. This practice has thus been designed to support the SDGs 3 and 9 through the diffusion of healthcare innovations that answer to citizens real needs, which will be translated into new effective products and services available in the market.
PI was born in February 2014 as an open platform for patients (those who develop solutions for themselves), caregivers (those who develop solutions for loved ones), and collaborators (those who develop solutions for someone outside their circle of family/friends) of any disease and geography, to share the solutions that they have developed to face a limitation related to their health condition. A part of that, in April 2020, PI started to collect useful COVID-19 solutions created by common citizens, healthcare workers and researchers. PI has also created different side projects along the years. PI has created the Patient Innovation Awards, where the PI team celebrates the achievement and contribution of the platform’s innovators. These awards provide the opportunity to recognize impactful patients, caregivers and collaborators who have developed a solution that helps cope with a health condition or disease, and posted it on the PI platform The final decision is made by the Advisory Board. It has been developed 4 editions of the Patient Innovation Awards. One of the goals of PI is to help the innovators to develop and implement their own solutions. In a competitive call, PI, in partnership with other European partners, won EIT Health sponsorship for the ‘Patient Innovation Bootcamp: Boosting Patient Entrepreneurship’. The Patient Innovation Bootcamp is an acceleration program for patients and caregivers to implement and scale up the innovative solutions they developed to help them cope with a need imposed by their health condition. This will be a series of bootcamps, which started in 2020. The project has been supported through received grants, prizes and in-kind contributions of supportive institutions in form of donations, events’ venues, office space and human resources.
PI has achieved some significant landmarks on its platform since its launch in 2014. In January 2021, PI published solution #1500 (all validated by the PI medical team), and reached 100’000 users worldwide. Over 200 COVID-19 solutions have been published and the number keeps rising. Besides offering the PI homepage in English and Portuguese, PI recently unveiled the entire website also in German to include a broader audience in the patient/caregiver community. It has been developed 4 editions of the Patient Innovation Awards; the 5th edition is planned to happen during 2021. The 1st edition of Patient Innovation Bootcamp was developed during 2020, where 11 teams formed by patients and caregivers learned about product development and validation, business model and implementation. The 2020 edition received 100 applications worldwide. All these outputs have contributed to disseminate and/or scale-up impactful healthcare novel solutions to real patients’ unanswered needs (Goals 3 & 9).
The encouragement received by supportive institutions as Nova University of Lisbon (in form of in-kind contributions of office space, human resources, events’ venues), EIT Health (sponsorship), and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (donations), has been the main key enabling condition for the project. The main constraint is the economic sustainability during the project implementation, which has been overcame through the support of partners, as stated above, and a new professionalization approach for Patient Innovation Association starting in mid 2021 as a reply to the increasing number and complexity of the developed projects.
The project has been supported through received grants, prizes and in-kind contributions of supportive institutions in form of donations, events’ venues, office space and human resources. It is our intention to increase the impact of these elements through a more and new professionalization approach for Patient Innovation Association starting in mid 2021 as a reply to the increasing number and complexity of the developed projects. As PI is based on a global online platform that receives solutions submitted by patients and caregivers from all over the world, and publishes the medically validated ones so other patients and caregivers with similar needs from other world locations can check that solution and also implement it, the practice is already being applied in a global implementation format. Still, we are planning to translate the platform to more languages and implement new PI local chapters in different countries so the local variety of solutions submitted can increase.
The work behind PI platform wasn’t affect by COVID-19 outbreak, as it can be developed by working from home. The 1st edition of Patient Innovation Bootcamp was designed to provide 3 weeks on site in different European locations regarding the consortium partners’ expertise: development and validation in Lisbon, business plan in Barcelona and implementation in Copenhagen. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, only the Lisbon week could be performed onsite, as the following working weeks were adapted to online content. In April 2020, Patient Innovation started to collect useful COVID-19 solutions created by common citizens, healthcare workers and researchers: after medical screening, over 200 were published, and the number keeps rising. Thus, this practice is also contributing to minimize COVID-19 impacts.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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