Sunday, May 20, 2012

More from Health Foo 2012

#healthfoo The self-creating Health Foo camp/conference continued yesterday with many engaging presentations and discussions.  Here you see ePatient Dave deBronkart expounding on different levels of patient-clinician partnership, borrowing a graphic produced by Holland's Lucien Engelen, as Healthcare, etc.'s Marya Zilberberg looks on.  He drew a parallel with the evolution of the Internet, starting at version 1.0, when information was presented to a passively receiving audience -- to version 2.0, described by Tim O'Reilly as "when the web began to harness the intelligence of its users -- to a version 4.0, with constant interaction and collaborative learning between and among web producers and web users.

Later, Cornell's Tanzeem Choudhury offered a talk entitled, "Can phones make you happier?"  She displayed a mobil phone app that provides an engaging visual representation (in the form of the speed and other activities of a fish swimming across the screen -- see below for a quick sample) of physical and social activity and thereby provides an indicator of mental health.  It is soon to be available in the Android market.  Tanzeem envisions her app as possibly providing a context for mental health episodes, maybe becoming a predictor of depression relapses.  She notes that self-reporting by patients has inherent biases, and so the automatic reporting of certain activities might offer a more reliable predictor of mental health status changes.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned Jose Gomez-Marquez, who runs the Little Devices lab at MIT.  He presented some more stories about working with people in developing countries to design and construct useful medical devices from easily accessible materials.  He explained how this process engages nurses and doctors and others and produces lovely results for those communities.

Here, for example, some nurses train a doctor in the use of a new procedural gizmo they have invented out of locally available material, including -- sometimes -- broken toys found in the trash or purchased at a very low price from a local store.  Explaining the process of co-creation, he expounded on parameters of global health device design.  Essential characteristics include:  reliable, cheap, robust, long-lived, accurate, safe, and (often) reusable as opposed to disposable.  He also explained the difference in evolution of producing such devices from the world of appropriate technology -- "We know what you need" -- to participatory design -- "Tell us what you need and we'll design it" -- to co-creation -- "Let's design together."

I was struck by the parallel between these stages of interaction and the presentation mentioned at  the top of this blog post, about the evolution of patient-clinician partnerships discussed by ePatient Dave.

And then a final item, a plug for Access Together, an app created by John Schimmel.  It permits people to report examples of impediments to the disabled in their community.  Whether used by advocates to push for improvements in infrastructure or by municipal governments choosing to make their cities and towns more accessible, it is a handy and valuable tool that came out of John's personal involvement with a disabled friend who had trouble navigating city streets and sidewalks.  It can also be used within structures by employees and customers to report on needed areas of improvement.


Anonymous said...

My recent adventure with a broken ankle has given me new and compelling insights into the access difficulties of the disabled. The 'Access Together' idea sounds absolutely wonderful. Now it is up to the city halls to design a way to efficiently deal with the incoming data......

nonlocal MD

RalfLippold said...

Thanks Paul for sharing. Thrilled to learn more about the mentioned devices. Mid June we have the (everything on mobile computing in barcamp-style conference). Maybe a connection for presentation via Web can be made.

What do you think?

Cheers, Ralf