This week I was a guest on the Next Big Thing in Health podcast (listen here or wherever you get your podcasts). I thought I’d share links to some of the people and resources I mention:
ARCHANGELS WORK helps people translate the skills and experiences they acquired as caregivers into talking points for a job interview or a new entry on their resumé. Alexandra Drane and Sarah Stephens Winnay came up with the idea after talking with me about how, after looking at the gap on my CV, I wanted credit for the work I did as a caregiver for my father.
ARCHANGELS conducts national survey research to measure the caregiver population. They have found, for example, that 43% of adults are caregivers. And it may surprise people to know that, of those:
- 1 in 4 are Millennial
- 1 in 5 are GenZ
- About half are men
70% of caregivers report at least one adverse mental health symptom (such as anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and/or COVID-19-induced stress and trauma).
23% are in the sandwich generation (caring for individuals under 18 and over 18 at the same time). Of that group, 52% have had suicidal thoughts in the last 30 days.
ARCHANGELS created the Caregiver Intensity Index, a tool for checking in yourself, to see if you are “in the red” and should reach out for help.
Atlas of Care’s CAREMAP, created by Raj Mehta, is a wonderful way to not only document all the helpers in your and your loved ones’ lives, but to see if there are gaps to fill in advance of a crisis.
I also talked about the book I’m working on — a guide to the patient-led revolution in health and health care.
Today’s rebels and innovators are building on the radical health movements of the past who saw that nobody was coming to help them or their community, so they helped themselves. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, which relies on peer sobriety mentors, and ACT-UP, whose activists changed how we test and deploy medications for HIV, and, more recently, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, who took that activist playbook and applied it to cancer. Each of these peer- and patient-led organizations started at the grassroots and now commands the respect of mainstream health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic spawned a new team of patient-led revolutionaries. Patients themselves identified, measured, and named Long Covid. They use consumer-strength tools to conduct industrial-strength research.
Scientists and government leaders quickly saw that it is an advantage to work with the Patient-Led Research Collaborative. Now we need business leaders and philanthropists to join the patient-led fight against Long Covid, and give these rebels the resources they need to expand and build on what they have created. .
And here’s my answer to the podcast hosts’ last question: What’s the next big thing in health?
The next big thing in health is patient-led innovation and discovery.
Smart organizations are going to go beyond patient engagement and instead partner with patients and caregivers to create new products, services, research protocols, and treatments. It is a competitive advantage to not only listen to, but also work closely with the people who are experiencing the symptoms, the people making everyday decisions for themselves and their loved ones.
To be successful in the pursuit of health and a better health care system in the next few years, you will need to tap into the patient-led revolution.
Your turn: What do YOU think is the next big thing in health? Please let me know in the comments.
Alex Fair says
Well put Susannah. I agree that patient passion is among the key drivers of innovation. This has been a major force and increasing in the last decade.
I was making a list of the teams we were making offers to get on stage at hlth2022 the other day based on votes from our mentor network and noticed the extreme diversity. I had recently committed to a minimum 40% DEI founders on my stages as part of a together.health initiative but my panel had selected 100%. So I would say that this is another emerging trend, people want to see more diverse founders or maybe more doors are opening for them such that the playing field is leveling? I don’t know the why if it, but we appreciate it.
Last but not least, AI augmentation pervades our portfolio and accelerator classes now. With so many easy to incorporate ai tool sets we are seeing an explosion in utilization, rapidly evolving what’s out there.
Thanks for asking!
Susannah Fox says
Alex, thank you! Widening the funding pipeline to include everyone with great ideas will boost our collective health. And I can’t wait to see how AI augmentation creates new opportunities for insights, treatments, services, and more.
Mighty Casey says
It’s taken FOR. EV. ER. – as those of us who’ve been in the trenches of this patient-led effort know only too well – but the signs of progress are actually starting to appear.
We might be getting close – finally, please, finally – to having enough weight of input from the lived-experience side (the one where caregivers and people-called-patients live) to start to shift thinking in the corridors of power that make health policy/regs and who decide who gets what, $$-wise.
I have long and long wondered if we – the citizen/human side of the healthcare/medical science equation – would ever really be able to raise our volume enough, in chorus, to be heard above the “shareholder value” crowd. Made that observation most recently (again) on Ben Miller’s Substack, Mental (link to that + comments on it: https://mentalhealth411.substack.com/p/dont-be-surprised-when-it-happens)
Then I start seeing/hearing the rising volume of discussion around your talking about Archangels on The Next Big Thing pod, which I am choosing to see as signal that we are *finally* seeing progress. Visible progress.
We gotta keep pushing. Which you *know* I’m good at =)