Nick MacKinnon is a founder and CEO of eTreatMD, a Vancouver-based mobile health startup. The company is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support FDA and Health Canada approval of its first product: the eTreatMD myHand app.
myHand is a mobile health app that lets arthritis patients automatically track the condition and stage of their hand arthritis by taking photos with their smartphone camera, and helps them to manage their condition. You can find eTreatMD’s campaign page HERE.
Q: Why did you decide to use crowdfunding to help get the myHand app approved?
There are two reasons:
The first is that we need to have feedback from potential users on the features of the app, such as what users expect to see and what they think about what we are proposing. We wanted to communicate directly to people who could see value in the app, either as something for themselves or somebody else. There are a lot of health apps out there that help people with wellness, but what we’re doing can have real medical value. We need to distinguish ourselves, to let people know that this app is very powerful on the one hand, and very easy to use, on the other.
It is important to for us to understand our user’s needs, and it’s also part of the requirements for securing medical device clearance that we seek “stakeholder input.” You need to have this clearance to be able to say it’s a medical device, and we want people to know that, to let them know we want to give them something that is truly helpful and meaningful. By giving them a stake in helping to secure clearance, we’re hoping to also give them a stake in their own treatment.
We have some of what we need in this regard, but we need a lot more, particularly for the second phase of our clearance process as a Class 2 diagnostic device and following our expected clearance as a Class 1 measuring device.
When people select any of the perks for the IndieGoGo campaign, even just the $5 one, they validate themselves as potential users, making their input meaningful.
The second reason is to create awareness about us, about this particular app for people struggling with arthritis, and about the future apps we plan to develop for other chronic diseases we’re targeting.
Q: What types of patients will the myHand app benefit the most?
This app is for anybody struggling with hand arthritis, but it will be welcomed especially by anyone who knows how difficult it is to get any kind of extensive care and treatment from our current healthcare system. Continue readingTags: app development, arthritis, crowdfunding, digital health, eHealth, entrepreneurship, eTreatMD, FDA, Health Canada, Indiegogo, medical device, mHealth, mobile health, myHand, Nick MacKinnon, regulatory approval, startup
In my latest post on Signals, “How Online Outreach Adds Value to Scientific Research“, I start by tackling the question of why more than 50% of scientists don’t engage in online outreach at all. I then outline the benefits of using social media for scientists, focusing in particular on how online outreach can directly add value to their research.
Scientists: I have some questions.
Have you ever written a blog post about your field? Tweeted a link to a new scientific publication? Joined a forum discussion about the latest research?
As it turns out, your likelihood of answering “yes” to one or more of these questions is no better than a coin flip. Fifity-two percent of respondents to a 2014 Nature News survey reported never having engaged in an online discussion about research. The recent Pew Research Center’s survey of AAAS members backs up this statistic. Only 47% of their respondents reported using social media to discuss or follow science, and only 24% said they blog about science and research.
As I note, this is a huge problem given the host of science-related issues that have become public and political controversies in the last couple of decades. Engagement by scientists in public debates is crucial to maintaining the public’s trust in scientists.
The problem, it would seem, is that many of those same respondents didn’t perceive any concrete research or career benefits to engaging in outreach, with only 22% feeling that promoting their work on social media is important for career advancement. Indeed, in the Nature News survey only 43%, 30%, and 17% of respondents, respectively, felt that their online network was useful in attracting collaborators, future employers, or funding.
In short, scientists overwhelmingly agree that public engagement is good for Science™, but not particularly useful to advance their own science. Thankfully, there’s growing evidence that the latter sentiment is just wrong.
There’s a growing body of literature suggesting that outreach can have positive effects on a scientist’s career. Perhaps more importantly, given the effort and time investment necessary to build a robust online outreach platform, having a social media platform can directly benefit scientists’ research projects, making it easier to recruit participants in crowdsourced citizen science projects and to raise research funds via crowdfunding.
You can read the whole post HERE.Tags: academics, citations, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, higher education, online outreach, research, science, scientists, social media