by Audrey KinsellaDeveloping new home care technologies is one thing. Getting people to actually use them is quite another. At last month's Connected Health conference in Boston, we were introduced to a number of new technology products designed to thoroughly engage patients in their own health activities and management. Three spotlighted at the conference's Minute Innovators session, titled "10 Demonstrations of Products That Could Make a Difference," show people with chronic conditions what to do.
Symple Health LLC (Princeton, NJ), founded by Natasha Gajewski, offers tools to help persons become experts in managing their own health. Gajewski began her conference presentation noting, a little ruefully, that she "fell into entrepreneurship." In her early 40s, she contracted a parovirus bug that also affected all children and families at one of her children's school. She did not recover as everyone else did and later tested positive for a rare autoimmune disease.
For anyone living with a long-term disease, finally getting diagnosed is a relief, but living with that disease/condition is its own unpredictable journey. Gajewski would have nothing to do with that. She tracked her prednisone usage and came to certain conclusions about exactly how she was faring, which she found varied from day to day. These variations led to her developing an application for tracking drug use and feelings of relative wellness over time. From there, she created a software company which developed a free app with tracking tools for others to assess their own drug use, symptoms, and outcomes.
The company's web site tagline is "Track. Learn. Feel Better." The application itself lives on the patient's iPhone, facilitating entries of symptoms – e.g. low back pain, headache – throughout the day at prescribed times. It keeps track of outcomes and changes in general feelings of wellness, making that information available during doctor appointments. Gajewski says, "Symple Health LLC is a self-help program, in that it enables patients to be better informed about what's working and not working, and to have specific data to share with clinicians so they can work as a team.
These three innovations a representative of a new digital healthcare genre, one that gets more how-to information into patients' hands. Targeted yet decidedly hands-off, reaching patients by computer and phone apps, these tools introduce a new way of "touching" patients.
Next week: yet another hands-off arrival into patients' homes – robots and avatars, adding not only assistance with day-to-day activities but, ironically perhaps, providing what other technologies do not, emotional support.
Audrey Kinsella, MA, MS, has written on home telehealthcare and new technologies for home care service delivery for 20 years, in 6 books, multiple web sites, and more than 150 published articles. She can be reached at: email@example.com : 828-505-2285.
©2012 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org