I don’t think stories ever really do have endings.
They certainly have beginnings, they definitely have chapters, but I don’t think they have endings. The best stories ever shared will almost always leave a person wanting to know or learn more. The best stories will leave lasting impressions and usually a different way of thinking about the subject in hand. Even when a person passes away, their stories live in others. The impact they have on others can last forever.
This year, I finished one chapter in my story.
I took a deep breath and handed over MediStori.
Handing it over was a choice I made on my own. A choice I made with my head, and my heart. I won’t deny that it took me a while to make that decision.
You see, MediStori was more than just a product to me. It was part of my story; my life.
Initially created in my home when caring for my dad, MediStori helped me keep my dad safe. After he passed away, MediStori became even more sentimental to me. My dad loved MediStori; he loved the fact that I had put so much thought into caring for him.
I absolutely loved caring for him.
After he died, I was even more determined to help other carers and patients. You could say my dad was my drive for change. My other drivers were my children: I am a mum of four daughters who all have complex chronic conditions. My support system was my husband, friends and family. They all believed in me, and believed in my vision for health services.
MediStori was far more than just a product. It placed the patient at the centre of all care.
The process of developing MediStori taught me more than any college degree ever could. Meeting so many unbelievable inspirational patients, carers, parents, families, health and social care professionals opened my eyes to the reality of what it was to self care; and provide care to others. Every single thing that people told me went into MediStori – I learned that my methods of facilitation and research was called “Experienced Based Co-Design”. I learned that the way in which I changed the product or process based on needs, was an exemplar example of Quality Improvement Methodologies [PDSA cycles]. I learned that the process was more important than the product. I learned that when you really listened, involved and engaged with people they would give you the solutions to creating the best health system. This was called Public Patient Involvement.
Along my entrepreneurial journey I studied – hard.
I completed a Fellowship with ISQua in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement; I qualified as a facilitator with Stanford University; I was awarded a Level 7 Special Purpose Award in Community Leadership. I was presented with an Honorary Fellowship by Canterbury Christ Church University [ECPD]. I became a reviewer with the British Medical Journal. I co-authored a national framework for Public Patient Involvement with DCU. I published my research in international journals, with the help of Dr Padraig MacNeela, NUIG.
Every time somebody mentioned something to me, my eyes were opened – I wanted to learn.
I valued people’s advice and help. I still do.
I won many awards along the way too. Every award I received meant so much to me – imagine so many people believing in me and my work in the healthcare field?
My most memorable public moments were when Enda Kenny endorsed MediStori; when I was handpicked for the Clinton Global Initiative; when I received the JCI Outstanding Young Person Award for Medical Innovation; and receiving investment on Dragons’ Den from someone I can now call a great friend and mentor, Mr Barry O’Sullivan.
Of course I couldn’t forget the remarkable recommendation for my work from the Director General of the HSE, Mr John Connaghan.
However, my most memorable private moments were when patients and carers contacted me personally to tell me how I had changed the way they managed their lives. Or when nurses, doctors, managers, pharmacists and charities told me how much I helped them in their work.
This was, and still is, my purpose: “Change”
MediStori changed me as a person.
It opened my eyes to the abilities I always had but didn’t realise were all that important in life: product design, facilitation, public speaking, negotiations, marketing, research, process change, implementation, strategy, business management; team leadership and culture change. As any other entrepreneur will tell you, this list is endless.
MediStori also changed my perceptions of people.
It taught me how to become resilient in the toughest of times, without ever personally becoming toughened.
Kindness, integrity and empathy are not signs of weaknesses, they’re signs of strength. Feeling sad when people hurt you, shows that we are all “human”.
As the saying goes – “People [humans] Buy from People [humans]”.
I am happy with my decision to hand over MediStori. Even though it is not part of me anymore, I will always be part of it. MediStori will now help create some of the best integrated care records in our health sectors. This was always my aim. I am happy to be still involved in some of these projects, one being a specialised record for specific cohorts of patients in the HSE.
This new chapter in my story begins with realising that I am MediStori. I am the product.
I live and breathe what it aimed to do – to put the patient at the centre of all care; to improve communications across all health sectors; to help people better self manage their care, appointments, medications and treatments; to empower our service users and our health care providers through knowledge; to integrate services and health records nationally and internationally; to include everybody in design, implementation and research; and most importantly to create safer and healthier health services for all.
In these last few years I have shared my knowledge and experiences with many national and international organisations in health sectors (voluntary, private and public) through my consultation and advocacy (support) services.
On the back of my decision to start this new chapter in my life, I am delighted to say that I am now in a much freer position to help many more in the healthcare sector.
I will give you a little word of caution however before you consider involving me with your team: if I feel I am being brought in tokenistically e.g. as a “tick the box patient” or a “good add-on to an organisation”, I will know it.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in recent years, I have learned to value myself.
I will walk away from those who are not authentic.
Because I am more than just someone who uses services, or someone who will be used by services. I help change services. I am an innovator and an implementer. I will give you value for money, if you value me for my worth.
My values will never sway because of profit, power, pride or promotion.
Finally, I want to finish this piece off by saying a sincere and heartfelt thank you to every single person that supported me, especially those who stood by me when the going got really rough.
You know who you are.
And because of you, I now know who I am.
If you would like to get in touch with me my email address is email@example.com or phone 087 7982232 (+353 outside Ireland)
I have left the MediStori website open for information purposes: www.medistori.com
My credentials and reference from the HSE can be viewed here
My research can be viewed here