Innovation That Matters

What Can We Learn About Self-Care From Past Health Innovations?

Lessons From the Innovation Archive

In this series, we’re unearthing ideas from our extensive archive of over 10,000 innovations that are relevant to the times we find ourselves in today.

Whilst the response to the coronavirus pandemic is already spurring new and innovative ideas and solutions that may shape sectors for years to come, we can also look to the past for lessons in agility. With this in mind, Springwise is resurfacing ideas from our extensive innovation archive.

Below are innovations we spotted several years ago that looked to facilitate improved self-care, as well as saving time and reducing the stress put on doctors and nurses by reducing the number of patients they see. 

Related: Sharing Economy Lessons From the Innovation Archive


Originally published: 12th September 2016

Visits to the doctor can be time-consuming and often, in the end, unnecessary. At the same time, a checkup can provide much-needed reassurance, particularly for those with young children. Healthcare is big business and doctors and patients are both looking for improved flexibility and efficiency in their interactions without sacrificing quality. Now Australian startup, CliniCloud, enables individuals to give themselves a medical check-up in the comfort of their own home.

The startup, co-founded by Andrew Lin and Hon Weng Chong, uses a stethoscope, a contactless infrared thermometer and an accompanying app. The app guides users through the process of using the equipment and also enables patients to record, store and even send data such as temperature and heart or lung sound direct to their family doctor. Lin, who met Chong as a medical student at the University of Melbourne, says the app aims to streamline healthcare, “from people being treated quicker than they otherwise would, to unnecessary visits being avoided.”

Here at Springwise, we have seen a wide range of tech solutions from t-shirts (which can detect epileptic seizures and call a doctor) to an app which allows roving doctors to give patients smartphone eye exams in the field, and even telepresence consultations and pharmacies.


Originally published: 10th June 2014

Of all of the potential applications for telepresence technologies, many of the most exciting have appeared in the arena of healthcare. We’ve already seen telepresence robots enabling remote patient-doctor relationships within a hospital, and now a collaboration between HealthSpot and MedAvail will see the technology used to bridge even great physical distances.

The user experience will begin at a HealthSpot station — an innovation we spotted early last year. These are private, walk-in kiosks that offer patients instant access to medical diagnostics from board-certified doctors via videoconferencing and interactive, digital telehealth tools. The stations will be located in remote locations where there is no existing retail pharmacy, along with a MedAvail MedCenter — which is currently in the pilot phase in Illinois. 

After visiting the HealthSpot station, a provider will have the ability to send the users’ e-prescription to the MedCenter for fulfilment. It is this MedCenter which will then support the dispensing of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to the customer.


Originally published: 9th July 2012

Caring for a sick or elderly loved one can take a significant toll on the people giving that care, yet it can be difficult to recruit help without the expense of hiring a paid professional.

Cura is a new, UK-based platform that aims to “bring family, friends and communities together to care for the people around them,” in the site’s own words. Users of Cura begin by creating a free and secure online community focusing on the loved one who needs care — an elderly parent, for example. 

Next, they invite family, friends and neighbours to join the site and upload tasks that need to be done to take care of that loved one. Community members can then instantly see the tasks as they are added and sign up for the ones they can help with, whether it’s making a trip to the grocery store or putting out the trash bins. 

Cura explains: “No need to make countless phone calls to ask people to help and certainly no need to struggle on alone anymore.”


Originally published: 3rd March 2014

While services such as BetterDoctor have previously made it easier for patients to find a doctor that’s better suited to their needs than their local one, it doesn’t solve the problem of the laborious process that’s required to register with them and arrange an appointment. First Opinion is an app that opens up direct and instant communication between moms and doctors who are also parents, in order to offer expert advice in real-time.

Users downloading the free app from the App Store are matched with a friendly doctor to text with. The service uses first names only, so all conversations remain private and anonymous, giving patients the freedom to ask embarrassing questions. Although the app is aimed at mothers and pregnant women and all of its doctors have experience of pregnancy and child-rearing, users can ask health questions on any topic — whether it relates to themselves of their child — and can expect an instant response. 

Not only this, but doctors will also follow up to see how patients are feeling and chat in a friendly and personal manner.