As I leave Asia, where I’ve been for the past two weeks, for the U.S. today, I am reading the daily newspaper, the Korea Joongang News. On today’s op-Ed age is The Fountain column titled, Embracing the do-it-yourself attitude. In it, Lee Na-ree writes, “Making something with your own hands is part of the American pioneer spirit.” He describes the Maker Faire events and the project of Caine’s Arcade, a game developed by a Los Angeles boy who used auto parts from his dad’s shop.
Na-ree observes that Americans are ‘regretting’ mass consumption.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: I happened upon a pharmacy here in Seoul’s Incheon Airport that was the size of an average American bathroom, staffed by three professionals and storing countless items of medicines, OTCs, and some homeopathic remedies. The pharmacy the world over is a hub for DIY health.
Na-ree says that tools and infrastructure have developed drastically, enabling people to engage in Make-ing all sorts of products.
These same tectonic forces are enabling the new-new DIY health in the U.S. This is embodied by social networks, mobile platforms (phones and tablets), apps, and online tools focused on personal health, inspiring individuals for self-care as well as inspiring others through example in communities and families.
I see the personal embodiment of this in a broad range of colleagues who touch me: from Regina Holliday, passionate patient advocate, who inspirationally painted at the Kennedy Center’s TEDMED meeting last week; Brett Shamosh, whose personal condition with Crohn’s Disease motivated him to develop the GI Monitor app, recently acquired by Medivo; and, Gilles Frydman, whose Association of Cancer Online Resources is the gold standard for crowdsourcing patient-driven clinical trial participation.
Reflecting on two weeks in Asia, touching the health systems in Korea and Vietnam, I return to the U.S. energized by what Americans are doing in DIY healthcare. My forecast: HealthcareDIY can emerge as an important export for U.S. entrepreneurs.