Healthcare has found the sharing economy. Israel-based app HelpAround, connects people with diabetes in the immediate area and is the first 'sharing economy' app to hit the healthcare world.
Founders Yishay Knobel and Shlomi Aflalo started HelpAround last year after a friend forgot his diabetes test strips at a sporting event. The app provides users with a local support group of nearby helpers who could be of assistance. A person could share in the app forum that they don't have their supplies, are feeling unwell, or need help with using equipment. Other users in the area can connect with them to provide assistance or support.
"Here at HIMSS [Health Information Management Systems Society] it's all about hospital-to-patient, doctor-to-patient, nurse-to-patient. Why is no one talking about patient-to-patient?" Knobel said during a recent interview. "Especially when research has shown that peer support drives medical outcomes."
The app has been quite successful so far, with thousands of users and about a 90% response rate to questions. As Knobel mentions, higher levels of social support are associated with better diabetes and other illness self-management. Additionally, studies suggest that providing social support may result in health benefits comparable to - or even greater than - receiving support.
With an increase of focus on patient satisfaction and aftercare, peer support apps such as HelpAround can help medical facilities better educate and support patients.
"Diabetes management is exhausting for both patients and caregivers, yet there hasn't been a healthcare industry after-care solution that helps patients by connecting them to each other," Knobel has said. "HelpAround premise is: the best resource for a patient is another patient. We harness the superior trust, empathy and camaraderie within the diabetes patient community, allowing members to discover peers who truly 'get it'."
We are interested to see what other healthcare based sharing economy platforms spin off of HelpAround. Check out Mobi Health News' recent article on HelpAround and let us know what you think. Where else could you see a peer-support app being beneficial?