Lucien Engelen

Crowdsource your health

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I would like to talk to you about why many ehealth projects fail. And I really think that the most important thing of it is that we stopped listening to patients. And one thing we did at Radboud University is we appointed a Chief Listening Officer. Not in a very scientific way — she puts up a little cup of coffee or a cup of tea and asks patients, family, relatives, "What's up? How could we help you?" And we think, we like to think, that this is one of the major problems why all — maybe not all — but most of the ehealth projects fail, since we stopped listening.


This is my weight scale. It's a very simple thing. It's got one knob, on/off. And every morning I hop on it. And yes, I've got a challenge, as you might see. And I put my challenge on 95 kg. But the thing is that it's made this simple that whenever I hop on, it sends my data to Google Health as well. And it's collected by my general practitioner as well, so he can see what's my problem in weight, not on the very moment that I need cardiologic support or something like it, but also looking backward. But there's another thing. As some of you might know, I've got more than 4000 followers on Twitter. So every morning, I hop on my weight scale and before I'm in my car, people start talking to me, "I think you need a light lunch today, Lucien."




But that's the nicest thing that could happen, since this is peer pressure. Peer pressure used to help patients — since this could be used for obesity, it could be used to stop patients from smoking. But on the other hand, it also could be used to get people out of their chairs and try to work together in some kind of gaming activity to get more control of their health.


As of next week, it will soon be available, there will be this little blood-pressure meter connected to an iPhone or something or other. And people will be able, from their homes, to take their blood pressure, send it to their doctor and eventually share it with others, for instance, for over a 100 dollars. And this is the point where patients get into position and can collect, not only their own control again, be captain of their own ship, but also can help us in health care due to the challenges that we face, like health-care cost explosion, doubled demand and things like that, make techniques that are easy to use and start with this to embrace patients in the team.


And you can do this with techniques like this, but also by crowdsourcing. And one of the things we did, that I would like to share with you introduced by a little video.






We've all got navigation controls in our car. We maybe even have it in our cellphone. We perfectly know where all the ATMs are, just about the city of Maastricht. The other thing is we know where all the gas stations are. And sure, we could find fast food chains. But where would be the nearest AED to help this patient? We asked around, and nobody knew. Nobody knew where the nearest lifesaving AED was to be obtained right now.


So what we did, we crowdsourced the Netherlands. We set up a website, and asked the crowd, "If you see an AED, please submit it, tell us where it is, tell us when it's open," since sometimes in office hours it's closed, of course. And over 10,000 AEDs in the Netherlands already have been submitted. The next step we took was to find the applications for it. And we built an iPad application. We made an application for Layar: Augmented Reality, to find these AEDs. And whenever you are in a city like Maastricht, and somebody collapses, you can use your iPhone, and within the next weeks also your Microsoft cellphone, to find the nearest AED, which can save lives.


And as of today, we would like to introduce this, not only as AED4EU, which is what the product is called, but also AED4US. And we would like to start this on a worldwide level. And ask all of our colleagues in the rest of the world, colleague universities, to help us to find and work and act like a hub to crowdsource all these AEDs all around the world, that whenever you're on holiday and somebody collapses, might it be your own relative or someone just in front of you, you can find this.


The other thing we would like to ask is of companies also all over the world that will be able to help us validate these AEDs. These might be courier services or cable guys, for instance, just to see whether the AED that is submitted is still in place.


So please help us on this one and try to make not only health a little bit better, but take control of it.


Thank you.



You can use your smartphone to find a local ATM, but what if you need a defibrillator? Lucien Engelen shows us online innovations that are changing the way we save lives, including a crowdsourced map of local AEDs.

About the speaker
Lucien Engelen · Healthcare innovator

Lucien Engelen is a technologist and innovator who is working to put patients into the healthcare team.

Lucien Engelen is a technologist and innovator who is working to put patients into the healthcare team.