Saul Marquez, Host at Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Improving the Ostomy Experience with Smart Technology and Patient Experience

Friday April 24th 2020

Improving the Ostomy Experience with Smart Technology and Patient Experience


Improving the Ostomy Experience with Smart Technology and Patient Experience

Healthcare solutions come from everywhere. In this age of digital transformation, we cannot expect patients to sit around and wait around for services they need when they can access data and possible solutions outside the clinic walls. 


Providing Innovative Solutions for Digestive Disorders

One company leading the patient-driven healthcare solutions is 11Health, a connected medical device company improving the lives of people with digestive disorders. 


Founded in 2013 from a hospital bed in Oxford UK, 11Health has grown into an outstanding company with an impressive track record of satisfying clients with its suite of products and smart solutions. 


For its founder and CEO, Michael Seres, 11Health is a personal mission to help others with digestive orders.  Michael was diagnosed with the incurable bowel condition Crohn’s Disease aged 12. After over 20 operations and intestinal failure, he became the 11th person to undergo a small bowel transplant in the UK at The Churchill Hospital, Oxford, England.


Early Beginnings of 11 Health


In my podcast interview, Michael shared how 11Health came about. 


I had Crohn’s disease, incurable inflammatory bowel disease from the age of twelve. I’m an intestinal transplant patient and have been an ostomy patient. The inspiration at the beginning was how do I solve my own problem of leading this life? And what started as a very, very crude hack, a sensor on a bag that would just beep because the bag was expanding or contracting as it filled. It was the genesis for 11 Health.”


Michael’s ostomy resulted in having a bag attached to his body. He recalled his frustration at having no control of what’s coming out, when it’s coming out, no idea of the volume, and the leaks and spills that accompany having a bag. He reached out to social media and contacted about 20,000 patients through various groups asking what the patients are doing to manage their situation. 


The response he received? Get used to it. 


Fortunately for Michael and the thousands of other patients enjoying the benefits of having a smart bag, he did not listen to their advice. Michael decided to try and solve things himself. He hacked his own health. He bought a flex sensor from a Nintendo Wii hand glove and taped it to the outside of the bag. 


This is a clear lesson for everyone, no matter what demographic you belong to. If you have a problem and the solution is not available, don’t wait. Work things out on your own. Plato said ‘Necessity is the mother of invention‘. What you have is more than just a problem, it’s an opportunity to learn, do something more, create something better. 


Adding Value to Healthcare Thru Digital Technology


Knowing when the ostomy bag expands is not enough. According to Michael, 11Health’s smart bag allows patients to set multiple alarms to alert them when the bag fills up. It also analyzes what comes out and when the waste comes out so the company can implement preventive measures to prevent infection rather than simply treating the wound. 


11 Health’s ostomy bag has sensors that extract data minute by minute. The data is then sent to the cloud and connects with a friendly user app, allowing the company to monitor an increase in body temperature, increase in volumetric outputs, and more.


This technology is crucial if you want to improve a patient’s quality of life and possible readmissions and complication. Ostomy bag has been used since 1954, and though healthcare’s technological transformation has been on the rise of the past two decades, very little had been done to improve the ostomy bag which significantly affects the lives of ostomy patients. 


Ensuring Proper Care In Escalated Situations


On top of the technology, 11 Health also uses patients as fully trained and qualified coaches. The patients are buddied up with somebody who’s got a shared live experience and have been trained to manage the patients. 


If the problem needs to be escalated, there are qualified nurses to take care of the patients. 


Telehealth and Remote Monitoring For Patients with Chronic Digestive Diseases


From stoma patients, 11Health has currently expanded its products to all patients with digestive diseases or in the colorectal states. 


Due to the current situation. remote monitoring is also implemented. 


Key to Success


From a single user, 11 Health has now grown to thousands of users. This patient-led company was created as an answer to a patient’s need. It was an innovation that focused on the end-user. That could be 11Health’s key to success. 


In healthcare, many tech companies produce exceptional products but fail to understand the end-user. If you want your company to flourish, focus on the end-user. Know what they need. Better yet, ask the patients what improvements do they think could be done to their current products that will help improve their lives. 


To listen to my conversation with Michael Seres, visit:


Written By

Saul Marquez

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