Ryan Scott shared how Bonifier is helping children get better care during their journey in the hospital system. Working outside medical or physical components, Bonifier is developing a 24/7 digital imaginary friend. The tool uses emotional support, self-care, and data approaches to improve child patient experience.
“Our mission is to assist chronically ill children overcome their fear and anxieties.”–– Ryan Scott
Being a patient can be a confusing, scary, and lonely experience in the midst of dealing with a life-altering illness. For kids, the experience is amplified, especially when unaware of processing or expressing feelings fully.
Ryan explains Bonifier is not meant to distract from fear and anxiety, but help kids address the feelings. In a sense, the tool guides kids in learning skills to build resilience. Ryan also mentioned a sounding board, where data can be given to clinicians, so they can see how the child’s mental health journey looks in conjunction with their medical treatment.
Despite hospitals having mental health resources, Ryan observed how the demand for resources has “outpaced” the supply, such as professionals available to children. He makes it clear he’s not promoting that humans be replaced but realized the proportion is noticeably off-balanced. Hearing Ryan explains observations on the journey around patient mental health assessment brought up great points.
Major elements of the assessment journey include the assessment being early in the diagnosis and done at a fixed time. These seem like harmless logistics. Ryan expressed how examining a child’s mental health early does not reflect the build-up of experiencing medical treatment. Likewise, a child may feel good on Tuesday at 3 pm when they have their assessment, but there is nothing to note how they felt later.
Following the current methods, the journey is not measured as it is experienced: an experience which includes a transition from moment to moment. To emphasize, Ryan mentioned there is no protocol for re-assessment.
Never would anyone guess Ryan would go from running a video production company to pitching at a social impact startup weekend. Not even Ryan himself. He looks back on how he only focused on making something “cool” when he first began working.
A day came where his family experienced supporting a child with a life-altering illness. It is a reality and awareness that stayed with him. Ryan changed the reason behind his drive and began using his gift of intense work ethic differently.
“If I’m going to go a hundred mile an hour through a wall, it needs to be for a real purpose, not just to help sell another widget, not to do some other ego-driven thing.”— Ryan Scott
In the future, Ryan hopes Bonifier to be a more preventative tool to interrupt the trajectory from anxiety to depression. As our conversation continued, I got to hear Ryan’s reflections on the behind-the-scenes lessons learned. From reviewing mistakes in hindsight to admiring the strong community and friends helping the work develop.
To learn more, you can connect with Bonifier at their official website.