The key to success is collaboration (and an app)
Wednesday, 5th February 2020 at 8:29 am
As the primary carer for a son with multiple and complex disabilities, Danny Hui juggles appointments with up to 40 different doctors and therapists at any one time. But his app, Sameview, could be the answer to making life easier for himself and his son, as well as for other carers and people with disability, writes Maggie Coggan in this month’s Spotlight on social enterprise.
Before Danny’s youngest child Monty was diagnosed with a rare disease called ponto cerebellar hypoplasia, Danny had little insight into the world of disability or caring for a person with disability.
An electrical engineer working in disaster management by trade, Danny became Monty’s primary carer, and describes spending most of the early days juggling endless appointments with a broad spectrum of practitioners.
“We would add up all the different people in our lives, and in Monty’s life he was seeing 30 to 40 different doctors and therapists,” Danny tells Pro Bono News.
What Danny often struggled with the most, was being the person stuck in the middle of it all.
“It was really hard to get them all working together to even have a common understanding about our family,” he says.
“If one person, one doctor or one therapist told us something important, my wife and I would then have to tell all the other people in conversation.”
While he says many of his engineering skills have not translated to the social enterprise space, the idea for Sameview came from his time working in disaster management.
“I remember thinking one night that when there’s a natural disaster, there’s really good and effective ways for different people from all around the community to work together, to have a common picture and work towards common community goals,” he says.
It got him thinking about why there wasn’t a similar system for the disability sector.
“That was the light bulb moment for us, thinking that we can do something around teamwork,” he says.
Sameview is a web-based app that stores the health and personal information, and goals of the person being cared for.
Health professionals, teachers, support workers, family and friends can then be invited to view this information to keep everyone involved in the loop on appointment outcomes, ideas, personal moments and achievements towards goals.
Danny says the app is designed to not only make life easier for carers, but to help people with disability achieve their goals faster.
“We want to see that increasing collaboration lead to people with disabilities achieving their goals faster and with less resources because everyone is working together, more effectively,” he says.
And already, it’s making a difference, with one family’s experience in particular standing out.
“My proudest moment last year was when a family that uses Sameview told us their therapist believed the child had achieved a developmental goal faster because practitioners were working together and were able to communicate with one another,” he says.
The family were also able to use the app to communicate with therapists they weren’t able to see all the time because of location and money barriers.
“They were posting photos and asking their therapist if they were doing the exercises the right way, which is incredibly helpful in trying to achieve goals,” Danny says.
Pricing wise, the app costs $19 a month, or an annual subscription can be purchased for $199. Money from a person’s National Disability Insurance Scheme plan can also be used to purchase the app.
Danny says charging a fair fee for the app was important for them.
“This is our asset and our piece of technology and we firmly believe that things should cost the same, whether they’re for people with disabilities and their families or not,” he says.
“But we also don’t want our product to ever cost anything that’s outside of any other consumer’s expectations.”
For the time being, the enterprise is relying predominantly on corporate grants and partnerships. Danny says for the business to run sustainably, they need 1,000 paying customers using the app – 400 off what they currently have.
He says with major tech progress made in 2019, the enterprise is now focusing on attracting and keeping customers by showing off the difference the app is having on their community.
“We are really focused on better measuring the difference we are making… and I think that is as important, if not more important than the actual revenue side as a way of showing off our progress and proving to people we are worthwhile,” he says.
He added that when trying to solve a complex social problem like this, it was important not to cut corners to create more revenue, and actually create impact for families like his own.
“We aren’t comfortable making a business decision that might make us some money but takes us down a different path in terms of the impact we are trying to have,” he says.
“I want to make a difference to families like mine. I think if we go through something, I think we should do something to try and make it easier for the next person.”
Check out the app here.