"Do more for less" in public services is the motto for Sidekick Studios, an innovator in social innovations that spins out social businesses. Sidekick's latest invention, Buddy, is a social media radio that allows persons with long term health conditions to communicate how they are feeling to their family and friends in real-time, through email, SMS, Facebook, IM, Twitter and other social networks without digital support.
Buddy, social media radio: ©Sidekick Studios
Buddy, design sketches: ©Sidekick Studios
Remarkably, Buddy enables persons who may have no understanding of
social media networks and/or no digital experience or knowledge to be able to
utilize social networks without a digital medium.
But Buddy is not just a radio; it's a program, enthusiastically supported by the National Health Service (NHS) in Great Britain. Buddy, in fact, decentralizes health care by making friends, families, and even other patients part of each individual patient's care, providing mental health support so necessary to the vitality of those with long term health conditions. And with this kind of social support, the patient can be helped to achieve self-management of his or her condition.
Buddy has received a contract from NHS with support from Britain's independent National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA). A 12-month trial is being conducted with South London and Maudsley Trust, a mental health services provider. Sidekick will provide continuous information on its progress in the Buddy Blog.
There's another aspect of the Buddy form of socialized medicine; it may give a patient's health care giver a world of support as well.