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Page 711 – Stanford Medicine X

Awareness is the key to unlock patient engagement

Mette Dyhrberg mette@mymee.com


Modern day conditions come from interplay over time - e.g. genetic predisposition, behavior, social context, and environment with causes and effects often removed in time and location. To paraphrase Tolstoy: “All healthy people are alike; each unhealthy person is unhealthy in each their own way.” Unfortunately, current health care practice lacks the incentives, resources, methods, and tools for dealing effectively with these kinds of complex, individual conditions.

Today, medicine and health care is all about patchwork. It’s about understanding the many different factors that go into health problems. Active self-tracking creates a whole new window into the lives of people with chronic and confounding conditions. They might have an overall diagnosis. However, the specifics of how it plays out in their lives are very different from person to person. At this level of data, we have seen that a lupus patient might have more in common with a heart patient than with other lupus patients.

This new kind of data can be used for arriving at new insights about the individuals’ condition. However, without paying attention to the situation no real and sustainable improvement can be made. Active self-tracking enables people to focus their attention on factors and practices that go into producing their condition and help rid them of detrimental behaviors.

The future of our health depends on what we do in the present. However, the rules of the health “game” we are playing are not fully known to any of us. Translating the abstract probabilities of genetics into every day action is hard. It is difficult to place your bets for the long term if you do not know what really is going on in the short term.

Most of people’s lives happen between doctor’s visits. Filling in the gaps by using pay-attention technology fosters accountability and empowers patients through awareness to be active participants in their own care. Through the use of case stories and data collected from other ePatients, we will show how it’s possible to create awareness to not only increase patient engagement, but also fundamentally change the outlook on their experience of having a chronic disease.

When people collect data and improve their current state, it helps create an understanding of how our actions today impact tomorrow’s outcomes.
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