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Mariah commented on Parkers Mobile Clinic

Dear Dr. Umeh,

Thanks for these details and clarifications. I think that will help the judges understand your project. Good luck in the competition - and, even more importantly, with your efforts to reach poor, underserved elderly people with osteoporosis in Nigeria.


Mariah commented on Parkers Mobile Clinic

Dear Dr. Umeh,

Thank you for inviting me to comment on your progress in the refinement phase of this challenge.

I am impressed with your prototyping, testing, and video.

The video, filmed from your vehicle, in particular conveys a sense of who you are, why you care, and the thinking you have invested in this challenge.

I also really like the drawing that shows how the mobile clinic would be set up, with different areas for different aspects of the testing, treatment, and consultation.

One key insight you learned from your former school teacher is that the people the mobile clinic would visit will likely need more than just ostesoporosis care. As you know from your medical training and experience, many older people have multiple chronic conditions. You and I would both hate to have the osteoporosis mobile van show up, be told that someone is okay with managing osteoporosis -- but she needs to address blood pressure, diabetes, or other healthcare needs, only to be told, "Sorry! We don't do that!" then drive away. I appreciate this insight and I can see that you expanded to include "not just osteoporosis care" and wonder if you have plan for that: to collaborate with other mobile units, for instance?

Another small point for your consideration: It's easy for this American to imagine that elderly Nigerians do not readily have transportation to clinics because they live in remote villages and do not own cars. But I have no idea if that assumption is correct; please do not be offended by my ignorance if I am wrong; that would only strengthen my case that we could use a bit more info. If you could find some data on that point, such as: ___% of Nigerian residents (or those in your area) do not have access to public transportation, or something along those lines, that might further strengthen your proposal.

Also, what are Parker Mobile Units? A brand name for a company that already provides other health services? I googled Parker's Mobile Clinic and came upon an MIT proposal you submitted for a related service -- which is fine - there's nothing exlusive about these pitches. You do provide data there: <<Parkers mobile clinic seeks to solve the problem of poor accessibility to basic healthcare services among people living in remote and rural areas of Onitsha, Nigeria. Currently, approximately three-quarters of rural women lack affordable access to health facilities and medically-skilled personnel. With no health facilities, families living in remote rural communities face serious difficulty to convey their sick relatives to hospitals in the cities due to difficult terrain and lack of routine transport services.>> This would be good info to include in this proposal.

With your business plan, I see a reference to funding the effort via monthly subscription; elsewhere you note a mere $5 charge, which confuses me a bit, since it seems insufficient. At the same time, you seek funding from the OpenIDEO challenge, of course. So some more detail about the subscription fees plus the partners' investments might be valuable. Might the OpenIDEO partners' funds cover the start-up costs of the van and supplies, with some other plan to cover costs on an ongoing basis? Or might start-up funding from OpenIDEO's partners fund the van plus a ___-year pilot, with future funding coming from _____? I don't think this needs to be too specific at this point, since all of the costs are not yet known; I'm just flagging this in case you want to review that part of the business plan to be more clear about two or more sources of funding.

I hope these small suggestions do not seem to require too much more work so close to the deadline. These are minor points. I think this is a strong proposal. Thank you for sharing it with OpenIDEO, and with me.

Sincerely, Mariah


Mariah commented on HaloJoint Embrace an Active Lifestyle Again

Dear HaloJoint Team,

I'm an OpenIDEO innovation coach and person with osteoporosis post-first-fracture. I'm intriguedand commend you on your first-place prize. A few thoughts come to mind:

1) As with padded hip protectors and other devices on the market, a primary question is, But is it effective? Testing the device to make sure it actually reduces fractures would be essential.

2) It's hard to imagine that the same device could be used for hips and wrists. Explain a bit more?

3) I can imagine wearing these on my wrists when biking. If I knew that they would be effective, it would make me a more carefree cyclist. Carefree cyclists sometimes don't pay close enough attention to staying on the bike! I happened to listen to a fascinating NPR podcast called Moral Hazard (misleading name). It's defined as "lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences." This can be an unintended consequence of making people feel safe. This may seem far afield from your proposal, since any protective device could feasibly lead to people feeling so protected they begin being more reckless... but the fact that this concept comes to my mind - you're giving me visions of riding my bike hands-free again :-) - is something you can take as a positive sign: that this potential user, at least, would be very interested.