Posted September 17, 2008 by Lygeia Ricciardi
Here at the Project HealthDesign Expo we’ve just seen some additional videos based on grantees’ work. All the videos will all be available online starting at about 4:00 PM today.
The videos include a teen managing his meds and sending his mother text updates on a real-time basis, a businessman monitoring his heart trends on the go using voice recognition, and an elderly couple learning to incorporate more activity into their sedentary lifestyle by adhering to a walking regimen.
The grantees talked about tools that make these activities possible, but just as important was the observation by George Ferguson, from the University of Rochester, that patients don’t want stand-alone gadgets--there are more than enough of them in our lives already. You may have a TV, a DVD player, an MP3 player, and a game console all in one room, each with it’s own remote—it’s gadget overload, particularly if you have to control each one separately. One way to simplify people’s lives is to integrate new health functions into existing gadgets. The concept of gadgets can even be expanded to include objects such as clothing or teddy bears.
Regardless of which gadgets are used for health and the “skins” they inhabit, they all need to be integrated with each other and also with clinical systems. One of the underlying assumptions of Project HealthDesign is that you have to separate the applications from the network. The network can link disparate tools or applications together via an open, shared framework. The core components developed by Walter Sujansky will help to achieve that goal.
In addition, as Barabara Massoudi of RTI International observed, people don’t want to have to make big shifts in their daily activities to accommodate the recording of information. For example, James Ralston of the University of Washington at first thought patients would want to use their cell phones to photograph their food in order to monitor their diets. Turns out, when most people sit down to eat, they just want to eat.