Thursday 22

Patient Innovation: Sharing solutions, improving life

Posted by Patient Innovation on 22 Sep 2016

What’s Patient Innovation?

It’s an online platform, launched on February 7th 2014, free, and multilingual, that promotes the posting and sharing of innovative solutions developed by patients and caregivers to cope with a challenge imposed by any kind of disease or health condition.

How did it all started and how does it work?

This project is the result of multidisciplinary research, which involves the areas of management, health sciences,engineering and law. The investigation started in 2011, led by Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics in partnership with MIT Sloan School of Management and Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, in Portugal, the project also counts with the collaboration of the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, a member of the RRI Tools Portuguese hub, and the Faculty of Medicine – University of Lisbon, through several collaborative research projects.
The project, founded and led by Prof. Pedro Oliveira and Prof. Helena Canhão, has received support from several reputed members of the scientific community, including Nobel laureates, notable academics of several scientific fields, patients and patient associations of several diseases, from the five continents.

But then it was found that those solutions, developed by patients, caregivers and collaborators weren’t being shared. So it became clear that there was a need to create an online platform where the diffusion of these solutions were possible. And that’s why Patient Innovation was born - An open platform for patients (people who develop solutions for themselves), caregivers (people who develop solutions for a loved one) and collaborators (people who develop solutions for someone outside their circle of family/friends) of any disease and geography.

The problem or challenge experienced by a user (patient, caregiver or collaborator) might be the same problem of many other patients and caregivers. So the solution developed to solve his problem could be the same solution to the problem of many others.

Posting and sharing your solution will contribute to update and improve this platform, helping others to solve their problems. Anyone can join the platform. By registering, users have full access to all patient communities, where they may share with others any solution they have developed, as well as browse solutions and strategies that other users created and shared with the community.

Patient Innovation has a medical team (lead by Helena Canhão, MD, PhD), which makes sure that all the posts go through a medical screening process, to ensure the users’ safety. All of the solutions will undergo a screening process that will identify and remove posts that are considered offensive or inappropriate, for commercial trade, that do not qualify as a solution proposal, that involve drugs, chemicals or biologics, that consist of invasive devices, or that are visibly and intrinsically dangerous. Most solutions will be of a practical nature and may not require scientific validation, with no disregard to their importance in facilitating the day-by-day lives of patients and caregivers. Furthermore, the user community, that may include patients, health professionals and other individuals, will provide feedback through comments and informal ratings to the proposed solutions.


Patient Innovation participates in several scientific conferences, and gives workshops to patients associations. Every year, Patient Innovation organizes the Patient Innovation Awards, a ceremony to celebrate patients, caregivers and collaborators who shared innovative solutions created by themselves on the Patient Innovation platform. On September 2015, Patient Innovation launched the Patient Innovation Challenge Day, a challenge promoted alongside Liga Portuguesa Contra as Doenças Reumáticas (Portuguese League of Rheumatic Diseases) to celebrate the World Arthritis Day. This activity consisted of challenge our community members to develop and share solutions regarding rheumatic diseases, and award the best solution.

Patient Innovation was one of eleven innovations from all over the world distinguished by the office of Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be featured at the 4thWorld Government Summit, in Dubai (February 8th – 10th 2016).

The World Government Summit is a global event that promotes the exchange of knowledge in areas such as: government, technology and innovation. The event gathered more than 4000 world leaders, from over 90 countries.

The speakers in the event included the President of the United States, Barack Obama; the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim; the Secretary-General of the OECD, José Ángel Gurría; the Prime Minister of Egypt, Sherif Ismail; the Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; the Former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon; the Former Prime Minister of France, Dominique De Villepin, among many other reputable individuals. Patient Innovation had eight innovations on display (of a portfolio of over 500 solutions on the platform, then).

Patient Innovation was also invited to be part of an European exhibition called Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution. This exhibition will be on 29 European countries, opening on July 6 2016, in Germany, and will be touring around Europe until 2018. Patient Innovation will be having seven innovations on display (of a portfolio of over 500 solutions on the platform).

Patient Innovation Awards

Patient Innovation is all about empowering patients, caregivers and collaborators, by showing how their knowledge and experience is valuable. We want to keep motivating our community to get creative and innovative, and to share their solutions with each other.

That is why we have created the Patient Innovation Awards, where, each year, the Patient Innovation team celebrates the achievement and contribution of patients, caregivers and collaborator innovators. These awards provide the opportunity to recognize any patient, caregiver or collaborator who developed a solution to help him/her deal with a health condition or disease, and posted it on the Patient Innovation platform.

The Patient Innovation Awards honor innovators in three separate categories, according to their solutions’ novelty and relation with need:

  • Patient Innovation Award – Innovation developed by a patient, improving his/her own health condition.
  • Caregiver Innovation Award – Innovation developed by a caregiver, to help improving the health condition of a loved one.
  • Collaborator Innovation Award – Innovation developed by a collaborator, to help improving the health condition of someone outside the family of friend’s circle.

The award ceremony of the first edition was held on July 13th, 2015, at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in Lisboa, featuring six winners.
The 2nd Patient Innovation Awards ceremony will take place on November 10 2016, during the Web Summit, in Meo Arena, Lisboa, featuring seven winners.

Advisory Board

  • Aaron Ciechanover (Professor, Technio-Israel Institute of Technology, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry).
  • Lee Fleming (Professor, University of California, Berkeley).
  • Eric von Hippel (Professor, MIT School of Management).
  • Robert Langer (Professor, MIT).
  • Richard Roberts (Chief Scientist, New England Biolabs, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine).
  • Katherine Strandburg (Professor, New York University School of Law).

Ana Duarte

Ana Duarte works at Patient Innovation

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