As winter sets in here in DC, I’m warming up with memories of September’s Stanford Medicine X conference. I loved putting together a keynote that highlighted how the maker movement intersects with the e-patient movement — and how private sector and government leaders can benefit. This intersection, and the lessons we are learning from it, are the latest examples of how the internet gives us access not only to information but also to each other. That deceptively simple insight is, I believe, the key to unlocking the potential for innovation in health care.
Here’s an excerpt:
Stanford University posted the full video on their Facebook page and you can learn more about the Invent Health initiative I launched at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by reading the following posts:
Pamphlets can be printed cheaply, quickly, and in huge numbers. They can be transported in bulk and distributed to a wide audience. My favorite description of pamphlets is that they are “documents of controversial times.”
Here’s my question: What is the equivalent today? What are the means of production and distribution that are connecting people with information and with each other? Twitter, blogs — what else?
I’ll be on a panel in the late afternoon talking about technology and the future of aging, directly after Tim Brown and Barbara Beskind discuss universal design. (Read this Wall Street Journal article about some of Beskind’s ideas.)Continue reading →
Quantified Self Public Health is back! 150+ health geeks of many stripes will gather on Thursday, May 14, in San Diego to discuss how access to personal data could benefit individuals and society.
It is an invite-only meeting (sorry!) but filled with voracious documentarians like Joyce Lee (read her Storify from last year) and, well, me (read my round-up post, which also links to others’ blogs). Follow the tweets on the #QSPH hashtag, too.
Observations and conclusions from last year’s QSPH event were captured in an in-depth report (PDF) and in a series of videos. Here is one of my favorites: Ian Eslick’s talk on the role of personal experimentation in the medical and scientific process:
This year it will be my privilege to interview Don Norman, a design pioneer, on stage.
This point reminds me of conversations I’ve had with people who design communications for HIV clinical trials. They need to use “one voice with many inflections” — that is, one set of facts, but tailored to the population they are targeting, such as sex workers in Thailand vs. Peru.
A key element of the QSPH meeting is that it will be populated by toolmakers and tinkerers. People who make and hack their way to insights about health. So I’m also reading Mark Hatch’s book, The Maker Movement Manifesto.
How might we harness the energy of all the people who are making a way out of no way, every day, in health care (that is, patients and their loved ones)? How might we empower them with data and resources? How might we learn from them, and them from us?
Please let me know if you have a question for Don Norman. I know our time will go very quickly, but I want to squeeze as much as I can into the conversation!
I am sweeping the kitchen and just found one of my brother-in-law’s Parkinson’s pills [Ropinirole].
Every time he has to take it, he drops it. It is tiny and, well, he has Parkinson’s. I can’t tell you how many times the kids end up on the floor looking for the pill he just dropped.
Are there any hacks for a Parkinson’s patient to manage those tiny pills?
For those who aren’t familiar with the term “hack,” its original meaning is “an appropriate application of ingenuity.” I’ve written about home health hacks here and here and I’m actively seeking ways to connect health hackers/makers/inventors with the people who need them. I was thrilled when my friend texted me with this question and I’d love to help.
One idea I had: put a dab of honey on your finger and use that to pick up the pill.
Another idea: ask gardeners how they manage the sorting and handling of tiny seeds.
If you’ve got an idea, please share it in the comments below!
I recently spent an afternoon with a dear relative who is being treated for cancer. Her medication regimen is so complicated that my mom, an experienced caregiver, visits her daily to help sort all the different pills into all the various boxes (and make sure they get swallowed). They showed off three health care hacks that they’d come up with:
1) A weekly meeting to go over the pill supply. I snapped this photo, but blurred it and cut out the 2-pager my mom uses as a checklist. Note the use of clean surfaces to sort the pills — cutting boards and saucers. During this meeting they agreed that they need an upstairs pillbox (for pre-breakfast meds) and a downstairs pillbox (for the rest) because otherwise she forgets to take the early-morning pills.
2) Our relative recently had a port placed and she needs to keep it dry for 10 days. A friend brought over a handy roll of plastic wrap she bought at a hardware store and showed them how to wrap the area so she could shower. Continue reading →
We need to fix the “solved problems” crisis in home health care.
Let me explain.
At the start of Health Foo* in December, everyone introduced themselves in 6 words or less. Row by row, person by person, 100+ people talked in turn. In the back row, nearly the last to speak, Laura Baldwin stood and said, simply, “Dignity at the end of life.” I made a beeline to introduce myself. Continue reading →