Stigma & Patient Autonomy
Fluffy FriendsTM give patients full autonomy over how to handle the stigmas associated with these diagnoses. Designing the augmentation on the interior of the teddy bear is a key feature. Each diagnostic symbol can be kept inside a hidden pocket, concealing what makes them so unique and transforming them from an ordinary teddy bear into a medical tool and vice versa. While visible chronic conditions are hardly concealable, disclosing invisible chronic conditions are quite complicated. The concealability of Fluffy FriendsTM also mirrors the permanence and concealability of patients’ diagnosis as well . Patients often perceive immense risks with disclosure of their diagnosis to their network due to the many stigmas and repeated misunderstandings about chronic illnesses . Every implication and physical aspect of Fluffy FriendsTM actually embodies the founder’s goal of addressing psychosocial Fluffy FriendsTM in the product itself.
Health Communication and Provider Compassion
Fluffy FriendsTM can facilitate crucial age-appropriate conversations. The betterment of health communication between care team and patients, is directly correlated to improving patient satisfaction with their healthcare providers. Effective communication often yields trust. A trusting physician-patient relationship broadly improves health outcomes from several angles. For instance, patients are less inclined to hide information that is critical to their care from their physicians. Without that trust, patients may defy doctors’ advice, and they are certainly less likely to participate in collaborative conversations to better their health. All these behaviors put the patient’s health at further risk and contradict physician’s vow to “do no harm.” The use of Fluffy FriendsTM can show patients a softer side of their physicians, which demonstrates to them that these professionals are part of their support network that is crucial to their overall health and well-being and build stronger relationships. Physicians of chronically ill children become a part of their family, attending birthday parties and graduations while they watch their patients grow up faster than their peers all while braving a smile. Fluffy FriendsTM work to strengthen this relationship and prevent disconnected medical care by extending support after patients’ appointments/hospital stays.
Social & Economic Impact:
For physicians and hospitals, benefits of Fluffy FriendsTM include ethical and fiscal incentives. Utilizing a child-friendly methodology to communicate with patients will improve patient education and promote compassion amongst healthcare providers, improving the reputation of their medical practice. Bedside manner is directly correlated with patient satisfaction, which is a direct determinant of fiscal incentive. Based on customer discovery interviews, the benefit of improved well-being is supported by current patients, physicians, nurses, and hospital leaders/administrators. Additionally, improving healthcare has been a goal of influential organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization, for many decades for the betterment of society and the economy because chronic diseases account for 43% of the global burden of disease . Additionally, patients’ mindset also influences the individual recovery prognoses for each medical event . Furthermore, the mentality/outlook of each patient greatly affects their health outcomes and therefore, health complications and comorbidities associated with their underlying condition .
Fluffy FriendsTM improve patients’ quality of life by tackling the extensive breadth of adverse effects from several different dimensions, including comfort, anxiety, isolation, empathy, patient education, health communication, physician compassion, and child development. Fluffy FriendsTM works to make the healthcare system feel safer for children who have experienced or who are predisposed to experiencing traumatic medical episodes.
The total addressable market for Fluffy FriendsTM are the 15 – 18 million chronically-ill children in the US, and 25% – 40% of them develop post-traumatic stress symptoms that diminish their quality of life, which costs the healthcare system $750 billion each year . Neurological conditions, for instance, are associated with an even greater risk with reports of clinically significant emotional disturbance in up to 40% of children,  hence the decision to launch Fluffy FriendsTM to serve neurological patients. According to the Center for Disease Control, hydrocephalus is the most common reason for pediatric neurosurgery with 88/100,000 pediatric hydrocephalus diagnoses annually. In fact, hydrocephalus-related surgical procedures alone account for $2 billion in healthcare spending nationwide . Cerebral palsy is the most common pediatric neurological disorder with 250/100,000 pediatric cerebral palsy diagnoses annually. The cumulative cost of cerebral palsy is $17,000 per patient per year. Epilepsy is another common pediatric neurological disorder with 48/100,000 pediatric epilepsy diagnoses annually. Up to 50% of hydrocephalus patients who have already been surgically treated also develop epilepsy . The cost of epilepsy is $15,000 per seizure event . Spina bifida with 35/100,000 pediatric diagnoses annually is unique in that it has the potential to have hydrocephalus, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy as comorbidities. The cost of hospital stays for infants born with spina bifida just in the first year of life totals up to $1.35 million. To put all this into perspective, there are only 17.8/100,000 pediatric cancer diagnoses annually.
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