Note: This is Part 3 of a five-part series highlighting speakers from MaRS HealthKick 2015, an annual pitch competition for health startups at MaRS. (Read the first and second instalments.) Visit the event website to learn more about the program, speakers, jury and startup companies involved. MaRS HealthKick 2015 is an invite-only event.

For a practising physician, Dr. Mike Evans takes an unusual tack on the issue of patient engagement and empowerment, a theme at this year’s MaRS HealthKick event, which is taking place on May 7. As he points out, healthcare professionals typically talk about “when it is appropriate to let patients in on some aspects of their care.” However, he believes that considering when it is appropriate for patients to engage physicians may be a better perspective.

Patients manage the overwhelming majority of the decisions related to their own health. Ensuring that patients are as well informed as possible before making those decisions is a critical activity in which Mike has taken a lead. The medium he has found to suit his mission is an illustrated whiteboard video series.

You can watch the entire series of whiteboard videos on the Evans Health Lab website. One very good example—and the most popular to date—is an early video in which Mike describes a proven treatment that yields remarkable benefits for a wide range of diseases and which can be accessed at no cost by patients without the intervention of a physician. Watch the video below.

It is appropriate that Dr. Mike, as he is known in his series, is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s MaRS HealthKick—not only because of the relevance of his work to the event’s theme of patient empowerment, but also because he is an entrepreneur himself. While many people assume that the Evans Health Lab is funded by grants, it is in fact an independent and successful revenue-generating venture. While Mike sets the tone of the whiteboard videos and narrates them, he is supported by a team of dedicated and creative staff who bring design, marketing, filmmaking and other skills to the work of the lab.

According to the Evans Health Lab website, the Whiteboard Health Video series has had impressive success as a “one-of-a-kind Med School for the public.” It has had over 11 million students, 50,000 of whom registered for “classes” and approximately 200,000 new students joining each month.

The lab has experimented with new formats beyond video whiteboards, including video interviews in the Coffee with Dr. Mike series and the Speaking From Experience series, in which Canadians living with disease share their experiences.

Another innovative approach is Texting with Dr. Mike.

Texting with Dr. Mike Evans
Texting with Dr. Mike. Click to see the full infographic.

Mike will be joining e-Patient Dave and Melinda Richter, among other speakers, at MaRS HealthKick 2015, for a keynote session and panel discussion that are sure to be as compelling as they will be informative and exciting.

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Martin Sumner-Smith

Martin Sumner-Smith, PhD, was a senior advisor with MaRS Health Venture Services. See more…