Michael Seres, UK ePatient Helps Crowd-Fund Patient Scholarships
Michael Seres is reaching out to the world from the UK. And for now he’s reaching out to help fund patient scholarship travel to Doctors 2.0 & You.
Doctors 2.0: So, first, let’s hear a bit about you. Tell us about your patient-related activities.
Michael Seres: Well I have been a patient for 30 years having been diagnosed with the incurable bowel condition, Crohn’s Disease aged 12 and after countless surgeries and then intestinal failure I became the 11th person in the UK to undergo a bowel transplant at hospital in Oxford.
It was in the build up to my transplant where I properly started my patient based activities. I started writing a blog simply as a way of telling family and friends what was going on. This was a new procedure and process and I didn’t want my wife on the phone 20 times a day telling the same story so I decided to write about it.
Somehow my blog took off and so then did my patient interactions and my voyage in to the world of social media. At first my transplant team used my blog as a resource to check how I was doing when not in hospital, then they recommended it to med students so that they could get real time experience of a patient journey and then it led to bowel patients from around the world engaging with me. In just over a year over 55,000 people have read the blog and I have been humbled and privileged to be able to build social media patient based interactivity and now build on line patient communities with several thousand patient members.
And what are you doing with Doctors 2.0 & You as a “patient advisor”? How did you get involved?
I had the honour of being an e-patient scholar at Stanford’s Medicine X programme and that is where I first met the irrepressible Denise. Her passion about Doctors 2.0 & You came across the first time we spoke and immediately made me want to be part of such a unique event.
As patient advisor I work with the organising team to develop the strategy for attracting patients to the event. I will be using social media to engage with them and will be there to guide anyone who wants to get involved and be therefore for support. I guess I am one of the flag bearers for patients at this conference to ensure that we really do deliver the best possible platform for patients to actively participate in. After all I am a patient.
And would you tell us more about the Doctors 2.0 & You crowdfunding project?
Actually it is very simple. Our aim is to drive a crowd to our specific project that is housed at Medstartr and encourage them to support patients so that they can attend the show. The more funds we can generate the more patients we can have. However it is not all one sided and in return for the incredible generosity we offer various rewards to individuals depending on the amount that they support the project.
Michael, thanks so much for helping us with the MedStartr project to crowdsource funds for patients to come to Paris .
Thanks. Maybe not everyone knows what crowdfunding is…
Crowd funding is a fantastic way to raise funds without having to ask one individual or company to underwrite everything. The basic principle is that the crowd (ie a large group of people) but in relatively small amounts but the collective total is often greater than you could raise through one person. President Obama used this type of tactic to great effect in both his presidential election campaigns.
Is that available in Europe, too?
MedStartr of course will take funds from anywhere! ; But crowdfunding is just starting here and gaining traction quite quickly. We are still a little behind the USA but we are catching up.
Why do you think a patient would benefit from attending?
That is very simple to answer. By attending patients get a seat at the table and can influence decisions, make suggestions on new products and be right at the centre of the digital revolution in healthcare. No one knows better than patients what is needed they just don’t get asked very often. Doctors 2.0 & You changes all of that.
What kinds of people and companies do you think will be donating?
I hope that it will be a real mix from one off entrepreneurs who feel that engaging with patients will assist their own cause to companies who want to sit alongside patients and listen; right through to just kind hearted philanthropic individuals who value the input that a patient can give.
How are you going to get the word out during the campaign?
We are going to do this in a number of ways and at the heart of it all will be social media. Our facebook, twitter and Linked In campaigns are already beginning and shortly our You tube channel and Pinterest pages will go live.
If that isn’t enough then of course our website will be the first point of reference with easy to navigate pages and clear instructions as to how to be part of the action.
To cap it all I will also be doing regular blog posts about what is going on and these will be posted out through all our social media channels. Believe me you won’t miss seeing us as long as you have internet access!