Stigma & Patient Autonomy
Fluffy FriendsTM also respect patients’ decisions about how to handle the stigmas associated with these diagnoses. Designing the augmentation on the interior of the stuffed animal is a key design feature. Each diagnostic symbol can be kept inside a hidden pocket, concealing what makes them so unique and transforming them from an ordinary stuffed animal into a medical tool and vice versa. The convertible aspect of Fluffy FriendsTM is not seen in similar medically therapeutic products. Concealing the personalized diagnostic symbol, therefore hiding what differentiates Fluffy FriendsTM from ordinary stuffed animals, is crucial for addressing the challenges patients experience. While visible chronic conditions are hardly concealable, disclosing invisible chronic conditions are quite complicated. The concealability of Fluffy FriendsTM also mirrors the concealability of patients’ diagnosis as well . Patients often perceive immense risks with disclosure of their diagnosis to their social network due to the many stigmas surrounding 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.
The total addressable market for FluffyFriendsTM 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 . Neurological conditions “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 Phase 1 of FluffyFriendsTM to serve hydrocephalus patients, the most common reason for neurosurgery in children. In fact, hydrocephalus-related surgical procedures account for $2 billion in healthcare spending nationwide . Subsequent phases of FluffyFriendsTM have comparable, if not more significant, economic improvement opportunities. The long term effects and outcomes for patients who have developed PTSD as a result of their medical diagnoses can seriously hinder their ability to being productive members of society. Overall, improvements to patient education alone, would save the healthcare system roughly $3,000 for each patient per quality adjusted life year (QALY) . Additionally, patients’ mindset also influences the individual recovery prognoses for each medical crisis. Furthermore, the mentality/outlook of each patient greatly affects their health outcomes and therefore, health complications and comorbidities associated with their underlying condition.
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