In connection with the “Beyond the Lab: the DIY Science Revolution” exhibition you can see from June 20th in Budapest, we’d like to introduce you to health hacking, this exciting but relatively unknown approach to one’s own healthcare, showcased by many of our exhibitors.
Healthcare is being ‘hacked’ today like never before, opening up a new era of patient-driven innovation. The availability of technology such as 3D printing, together with new apps and devices for collecting data about the body, means that patients are increasingly able to take health into their own hands.
From people experimenting on their bodies, to those inventing medical devices from scratch, patients are discovering radical new methods to manage their health and improve their lives.
Sara Riggare is such a self-experimenter. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003. To stay fit and healthy, she has become an expert in her disease and shares her experiences with other patients online. She uses a range of wear-able technologies to record her heart rate and sleeping patterns, track symptoms and even customize her treatments.
In a similarly difficult position, Tal Golesworthy has lived for decades with a serious genetic defect to his aorta. Instead of accepting the treatments available, he drew on his experience as an engineer to develop an alternative. The ExoVasc is a supportive fabric mesh that is produced using a 3D-printed mold. It fits over the aorta, providing an exact fit for every patient.
Another good example of patient innovation is the case of Lisa F. Crites, who invented the Shower Shirt following a mastectomy in 2009. Like other women who have undergone the procedure, she was told not to shower unprotected because of the infection risk from unsterilized water. Lisa developed a waterproof shirt that women around the world now use following surgery.
The people introduced here are all passionate believers in the power of patients to take control of their own healthcare.
They encourage others to join online networks, embrace their role as expert patients and refuse to accept one-size-fits-all medical solutions.
This is how science and innovation become ours.
Come and visit the “Beyond the Lab: the DIY Science Revolution” exhibition at Impact Hub Budapest between June 20th and August 16th to see the innovators and inventors working in the spirit of health hacking and patient innovation.