November 28, 2016 | Aparna Mittal
Aparna Mittal is the founder of PatientsEngage, a startup in the BfE Programme.
A. What motivated you to start your business?
The first thing a lot of us do, when a friend or a family member has new symptoms or is diagnosed with a condition, is to search online. And while the internet gives us a lot of information, I found that people want to hear from people who have tried out a specific treatment – what were the side effects, how did they deal with it, had they learnt something that could help another. Online forums provide this information but there are very few that reflect the Asian perspective. And so grew the idea of PatientsEngage – a space where people in similar circumstances can share information and learn from each other. The health of an individual affects an entire family, especially for chronic conditions. This message was reinforced to me time and again in all the conversations I had with patients and their caregivers. Much of healthcare takes place outside the clinical gaze. The patient and the family have to make many critical decisions – be it about medication, hospitals, at-home nursing, at-home diagnostic kits, nutrition, therapies, etc. The right information and support mechanism can make those decisions easier. We also need to bring awareness and remove the stigma associated with various conditions, so people can deal with the condition more effectively without the burden of secrecy and stigma. And find ways to continue to live productive lives. Further, as we live longer, we need to make the right medical and lifestyle choices that will enable us to age well. And we need to start now, not after we are old. By staying abreast of the latest information, we can take charge of our lives, the lives of our loved ones and put ourselves back in the centre of the healthcare system.
B. How did Bridges for Enterprise give you the opportunity to act upon these motivations?
I hope Bridges for Enterprise can help with funding that will enable us to scale this enterprise. We can then continue to increase our social impact and reach more and more people with meaningful content, create a vibrant and engaged community and help them to navigate their healthcare journey
C. What words of encouragement would you like to give to others?
Just because something is difficult does not make it impossible. If you think something needs fixing or improvement, look for how you can address that problem. It’s not somebody else’s problem.