It starts first thing in the morning. An app wakes me and it’s the last thing I use before going to bed at night. Throughout the day, apps tell me my bank balance, if my train is on time and how many steps I have taken. Specific to my Multiple Sclerosis, I self-report side effects, get reminders to take my medication, do brain training and get support on the days when I can’t leave the house. No matter what I want to do, it seems like there is some form of app available to help me.
On June 28th, my smartphone and I made the trip to Berlin to take part in the patient judging panel of the Bayer 2018 Grants4Apps challenge. The panel’s role was to evaluate if the digital health platforms, solutions, and products would make a difference to patients. Were they what patients want, need, and will use to help them own their healthcare more and ultimately improve their quality of life?
Smart phones are getting smarter. The internet means that brilliant inventors can collaborate worldwide in an instant. Big data is offering infinite possibilities. Production costs are dropping. Most importantly, patients are starting to demand more and are willing to play a meaningful part in managing their health.
If you haven’t already heard about G4A, their website says that it was “founded in 2013 in Berlin initially giving out grants to innovative healthcare apps (hence the name Grants4Apps), we fast forward to 2018 and beyond, where we are now a global program dedicated to help innovative health & care start-ups grow and enable positive disruption and progress within digital health.”
G4A is in over 13 countries and entails so much more than just apps. We developed new programs that open up the possibility for great minds to come in and collaborate with Bayer on redefining what is known as health and care with innovative technology.”
I was delighted to meet Tanja Spanic there. She was also on the judging panel and is currently a Cohort 3 EUPATI student. The short-listed applicants dialled in from all over the world and they managed the tough questions they got from the jury with impressive responses. What was obvious in a lot of instances is that the idea had sprung from a personal experience- thus fuelling a passion to “make things better” for the patients involved. Bayer can partner with these entrepreneurs to help them make their brilliant ideas a reality.
I hadn’t expected that the standard of applicants would be so high, and a full day of judging went by in a flash. The patient jury sat with a team from Bayer and everyone’s input was valuable and contributed different perspectives. For example, Kawal from IAPO provided a voice for those living in lower income countries, and Bastian had previous experience in evaluating apps for patients. We left exhausted but excited that we had explored fully how patient centric each of these apps were. The results of the challenge will be announced at the end of August and I eagerly anticipate the resulting benefits to the lives of patients.