After searching for health care assistance for her mother and grandmother, Marta Veiga created a business to help others in the same situation.
Planting lavender, rosemary, and sage in your flowerbed does more than provide herbs for your personal kitchen. These herbs can be used to heal your family, beautify your neighborhood, and above all, they work as pollinators that attract bees to all the flowerbeds in your community. Like these herbaceous pollinators, Marta Veiga’s dream began as a personal necessity but blossomed into an international healthcare tool.
In late 2015, Marta, a single-mother and lawyer in Portugal at the time, found herself in a predicament. Both her mother and grandmother had had major surgeries, and her busy career was inhibiting the ability to provide the care her loved ones needed. Marta found herself spending most of the day on the phone arranging treatments, researching the reputations of doctors, and scheduling appointments. She couldn’t afford to end her career and couldn’t abandon her family. What she needed was a personal assistant that could manage local healthcare providers in an efficient and streamlined manner. “I thought this service already existed,” Marta said, “but it didn’t, so I had to build it from scratch.”
Marta says she contacted her current partner, a software engineer, with her idea. She wanted an app that family members could use to schedule patient care — like Uber for nurses. If you need a female CNA to bathe your mother (because she’s not comfortable with males) or a nurse practitioner to conduct a test and write a prescription in the afternoon because that is the only time that works for your schedule, you could schedule it on an app. Her partner agreed that it was a great idea but was skeptical about whether or not nurses would want to work in this capacity. “He said, ‘Find me 20 nurses and a patient that would be willing to do this, and I’ll help build your app.’ So, I put a basic Google Form on Facebook on a Thursday night, and when I checked Friday morning, I had more than 20 nurses and several patients who were on board!”
At the time, Marta had no business experience and didn’t even know how to use Excel, so she decided if her dream was to grow, she would need some training. She applied for three business start-up programs and by July 2017, she found herself in Louisville as the recipient of UofL’s “Launch It” grant. This program trained Marta on how to launch her start-up app and provided her with mentors to turn her dream into reality. Today, MyNurse provides real-time health care needs to patients with a response time of eight minutes. MyNurse creates a symbiotic relationship between health care provider and patient — much like the pollinating herbs and bees. Nurses and aides sign up for flexible shifts while patients have more autonomy: they can schedule their services when convenient, read reviews and select their provider, and even pay online.
Marta has uprooted her life and children from Portugal to settle in Louisville where her business is based. “I look back every day — I can’t believe I was crazy enough to come here by myself. It has been such an adventure!” But this adventure has allowed countless patients to have more choices in their health care and families to better support the aging-in-place needs of their elderly parents. MyNurse respects the patients’ biorhythms by working around their schedules. Although Marta is a continent away from her mother in Portugal, she knows that MyNurse is helping to meet her healthcare needs — it is attracting the bees that will help her mother thrive.