I know many of you are not keen on being overloaded with a bunch of "Health 2.0" news. You just want to hear about things that effect your day-to-day existence with diabetes. Gotcha. Nevertheless, it's useful to know what's happening in the "health revolution" outside our D-community. You might be surprised.
Once again, I heard a lot of talk about the importance "patient-centeredness," amongst dozens of demos of online tools that 1) looked awfully techy and sometimes hard to use, and 2) didn't always appear to put patients' real-life needs front and center. But still, many interesting new ways to use technology to track and improve our health are on the horizon, no doubt!
I also helped to moderate the one and only Patient Panel at this two-day conference. The panelists, which included patient advocates Trisha Torrey, Gilles Frydman, Jen McCabe, and "ePatient" Dave deBronkart had these important points to make:
- doctors and health technology vendors currently think about doing things to patients or for patients, but not WITH patients; this needs to change
- the notion that only medical experts alone generate valuable information, which patients simply consume, is fundamentally flawed; patients can and do add a great deal of value
- patient social networks and blogging communities need to be more integrated into the healthcare system
- in this entire national dialogue about healthcare reform, there's simply not enough patient representation!
I think this was an important discussion to have, in front of about 900 experts in health, healthcare, and health technology. Halllloooo, from us patients!
Among a large batch of online health tools I heard about, I'd like to highlight a few, which are not specifically designed for diabetes care, but are interesting nonetheless. You might find something here that could come in handy for managing some aspect of your or a loved one's heath:
* The Carrot — an extremely popular web site and iPhone app that lets you "track your life." It offers more than 30 "health and lifestyle trackers," plus "on-the-go access to all tracker histories, photos and journal entries, and the ability to search for nutritional information, medications, symptoms and more."
* Polka — a new, somewhat similar app for daily monitoring of various health parameters including medications, pain, weight, blood pressure, etc. - "or anything on your mind" via the web or iPhone app. Logging can be either kept private or shared with your doctor, nurse, family, friends, etc.
* American Well — an "eHouse call" service that allows live, face-to-face video consultations between physicians and patients. The technology matches up the patient with a physician. Their Online Care system is currently offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii and Minnesota, OptumHealth (a business of UnitedHealth Group) and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.
* Kryptic — a site that connects physicians with each other and their patients, via what is "essentially a sophisticated secure email system that moves data between more than 30,000 physicians."
* MedSimple — an application that collects data from patients, translates it into 'doctor speak' and then assembles it for both the patient and doctor. Practically, this means you're prompted to fill out health questionnaire that before your doctor visits, so your provider has all the right data in advance. The aim is to save both you and your doctor time, and allow you to focus on the health issue at hand rather than the paperwork and data collection.
* PharmaSURVEYOR — a site that promotes drug safety by profiling the risks of various medications and potentially harmful interactions. They claim to "go beyond traditional drug interaction checkers" by matching patients' symptoms against the drugs they take to pinpoint the source of discomfort and/or side effects.
* Kinnexxus — A caregiver coordination and communication site that calls itself a "senior ecosystem." It's a networking platform designed so that "caregiving tasks can be shared among friends and family and professional care providers so that the senior's needs are addressed in a well-coordinated manner without overwhelming any individual caregiver."
* Eliza — a system that uses the good 'ol telephone in novel ways to engage people in their own healthcare. They've created state-of-the-art speech recognition using "natural language" to enable automated phone calls to patients to check in on their conditions, or remind them about their meds, for example. As annoying as this may sound, the CEO says "we're respectful — we don't call during dinner." The company rakes in annual revenue upwards of $25 Million, she says, so they must be doing something right.
I was also delighted to be part of the live demo of the new Keas platform yesterday as well. Just a reminder that you can pre-register for the DiabetesMine Keas Health Account Plan here (available next month).