In recent years, the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has transformed the relationship between companies and their surroundings. There is a new concept of companies that is committed to improving society without giving up on the pursuit of profit.
Under this new equation, which is gaining credit in a context of heightened social vulnerability, cutting-edge technologies have become a powerful ally. Can you imagine a device that allows you to control a computer system with your eyes? Or an online platform where you can personally manage your health or that of people in your care?
These are just two examples that are already on the market. The Inithealth project, launched by two entrepreneurs, Juan and Javier, allows you to manage your medical history, control your diet or set health challenges from your mobile phone. "This all began with the personal story of a man who worked at the company and who had a medical problem. He had to go to various medical centres with that typical blue folder we all have stored away in the dining room cabinet at home, with all his medical reports, and thought that he should find a solution so he wouldn't always have to carry all that documentation around with him: reports, analyses, x-rays… That was how it started, and it has evolved into an umbrella platform of health and wellbeing services",explained Javier.
This small company, whose social impact has been to improve people's health, has been chosen in the latest edition of the Momentum Project, the ecosystem for social entrepreneurship launched by Esade, BBVA and PWC. "The success of a social entrepreneur is to generate social impact with their company and for that impact to be maintained over time," says Lidia del Pozo, the Head of the Momentum Project, who believes that the key behind these small entrepreneurs is that they take into account both the economic benefits and the social impact they generate: "The sustainability of this solution is fundamental, and the entrepreneur must not neglect the good running of their business". Every year Momentum selects entrepreneurs that are "innovative, proactive leaders, with a clear social vision, able to take risks and are good team leaders".
Inhealth is part of the growing telemedicine phenomenon and the so-called eHealth solutions. According to a study by the Swedish Ministry of Health, the use of electronic prescriptions would prevent 5 million errors a year in outpatient prescriptions. "Digital input of prescriptions by the attending physician and the creation of a support system for clinical decisions could prevent 100,000 cases a year of medical side effects among inpatients. Such an improvement would result in freeing up 700,000 bed days per year, with a knock-on effect on the reduction of waiting lists and estimated savings of 300 million euros. The implementation of Electronic Patient Record systems would free up 9 million bed days, the opportunity to improve procedural performance and reduce waiting lists that would mean estimated savings of 3.7 billion euros", according to this report.
«The other billion»
In the world there are 1 billion people with some kind of disability; they are known as 'the other billion'. Through business, "it is possible to play a transformative role and contribute to the inclusion of people with disabilities, creating opportunities to improve their quality of life," says Elena Valderrábano, Telefónica's Director of Corporate Identity and Sustainability.
Let's look at another example in which technological innovation is being provided to the health service, Irisbond, which has created a system that allows you to control your computer with your eyes, and which has just been rewarded at the Telefónica Ability Awards, which every year reward businesses that support accessibility and the integration of people with disabilities.
"This is an example of technology improving the lives of people with disabilities. In this case, it allows people with mobility and even language restrictions to be able to write emails, surf the internet or view videos, among many other activities, by controlling their computer with their eyes; everyday activities that are simple for us and that can now become so for them," explains Valderrábano.
It is a system based on the principle of video-oculography (more commonly known as eye tracking), which allows precise control of a computer by eye movement. "Its direct application in the world of disability and, more specifically, in people with reduced mobility, is the starting point of a journey that is exploring new developments to advance assisted communication", explains Eduardo Jáuregui, founder and CEO of Irisbond.
After years of research, this Basque company based in Guipúzcoa, which enjoys the support of the applied research centre Vicomtech-IK4 as their technology partner, launched in October 2013 the Irisbond Primma, which has been marketed with its own distribution networks in Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Portugal, the United States, Ireland, South Africa, Greece, France, India and Finland. Its main success: having succeeded in combining economic benefit and social impact.
Article originally published on Ethic http://ow.ly/HxPTq