Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and Stockholm with a group of young innovators called Fourmore, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time!
Taking cues from the hackathon and lean startup culture that encourages rapid ideation and development with a multidisciplinary team to solve problems, Fourmore sets up cases with a range of different healthcare organisations across the world, builds a team of developers, medics and designers and sends them to that country for a week to build something that solves a problem for that organisation. That’s 3 days for exploring the city you’re in and getting to know the people you’ll be working with, and 4 intense but incredibly rewarding days to build something for your case provider.
When I travelled with Fourmore, we had an incredible two weeks working on different cases. Our first case provider was a care home for children with autism and severe ADHD. The staff were apprehensive about the children having unrestricted access to the internet, as they were using social media to arrange runaways from the home, and were being specifically targeted by people preying on the children’s vulnerability.
After a lot of discussion and brainstorming, speaking with both the staff at the centre and the children themselves and spending our days and nights at the centre, we decided to implement a range of new ideas for them that would help educate both staff and children about ‘safe’ internet use. This included policies for the centre, workshops, ‘awareness days’ and a mentoring scheme with the local university which they could implement on their own timeline. We also developed a mobile app called Happie which was aimed specifically at the autistic children and helping them to identify their own emotions. In 4 days!
My second case, we worked with the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, specifically with their Centre for Gender Medicine who were looking to raise public and academic awareness of the importance of ‘gender specific’ and ‘personalised’ medicine approaches. We again created a number of things for them including a promotional video where we interviewed members of the public about gender specific medicine, a physical marketing campaign and an interesting website, GenderedReactions.
GenderedReactions connects with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database of drug side effect reports. This huge database of millions of reports on every approved drug was only opened to the public earlier that year, making us one of the first websites to use it. Through GenderedReactions, people can type in any drug name and see how side effects are distributed between males and females. In many cases, these are similar, but there are a notable number of drugs where the side effect profiles are actually very different between the genders. This serves as both an interesting awareness-raiser for the general public, and a light-touch research tool for academics who may be interested in deeper research into the gender aspects of specific drugs.
Both of these cases, and the others worked on by my colleagues around the same time, were received very well by the case providers, and Fourmore has made something of a name for itself in the healthcare innovation space, and are looking for new cases and new innovators this year.
If you’re a medic looking to get involved in something exciting that can have a real impact, or just to get a taste of what ‘healthcare innovation’ at its best is about, I’d highly recommend submitting an application at Fourmore.eu! The guys are also looking for new case providers in the UK and abroad so if you would like to see what Fourmore can do for your organisation, get in touch.