17th February 2022
Jaume Puig, Founder and CEO of Biel Glasses, has been awarded the HIMSS Global Patient Innovator Award, in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of patients experiencing low vision. Biel Glasses develops smart glasses that allow people with low vision to get around on their own, without help from other people.
The 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study ranked vision impairment, as the third leading cause of years lived with disability. Globally, at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment.
Jaume, who previously took part in the EIT Health Patient Innovation Bootcamp, was inspired to innovate in this area by a desire to help his son, who experiences low vision. The smart glasses he has developed use 3D vision and artificial intelligence algorithms to detect obstacles and, through mixed reality, show them to the user in a way they can perceive with their low vision.
“For me, receiving this award is like receiving it on behalf of all innovative patients. So, I would like to share it with all of them, starting with my wife, Constanza Lucero, who deserves the award as much as I do, since we both started this journey together when we realised that there was no solution to solve our son Biel’s mobility problems due to low vision. In this sense, it is a huge responsibility for me to receive this award, and somehow represent those thousands of innovators who struggle to solve the medical problems they suffer, or the people they love, because they do not find an adequate solution in the existing health systems,” Jaume told us.
Jaume added, “As with any opportunity I get, I want to take this one to raise the voice of all patient innovators to say that we really can do amazing things, but we need the healthcare ecosystem to integrate us much more naturally. We should not be an exception, we don’t want to be heroes, we just want to be an active part of the healthcare system, like doctors or scientists are, and for that to happen, we still have a long way to go. I really hope that this award can help to take more steps in this direction. Many thanks to HIMSS for the award, and also to EIT Health, who have always supported our project from the beginning and have been crucial in helping us to achieve it.”
The HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Global Patient Innovator Award recognises the crucial role those affected by health conditions can play in developing healthcare innovations to solve unmet needs they have direct experience of.
It was established to honour the legacy of Michael Seres, who suffered from Crohn’s disease and passed away in 2020. A patient advocate and entrepreneur, Michael helped design and build a digitally enhanced ostomy bag to help those with bowel injuries, chronic gut illnesses and cancer.
“We congratulate Jaume on being recognised by HIMSS with this special award. Like EIT Health, HIMSS recognises the importance of championing the work of patient innovators. After all, who better than patients and their caregivers to have that crucial insight which leads to true product innovation? We celebrate HIMSS for their work in this area and are ourselves honoured to continue to offer patient innovators mentorship and training through our EIT Health Patient Innovation Bootcamp,” says Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO, EIT Health.
Learn more about the EIT Health Patient Innovation Bootcamp.
GBD 2017 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. 2019 Jun 22;393(10190)
WHO. (n.d.). WHO | 12 October 2017: World Sight Day. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment [Accessed 14 February. 2022].