(http://quantdoctor NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/bodytrack1 NULL.png)We continue to experiment with self-tracking as a way to enhance individual insight, awareness, and potentially control over one’s own health and well-being.
I show here a visualization from the BodyTrack (http://bodytrack NULL.org) platform of my activity level (via BodyMedia (http://bodymedia NULL.com) armband), sleep (via Zeo (http://myzeo NULL.com)), symptoms (via MyMee (http://mymee NULL.com)symptom tracker app on an iPad), and photographs of food and people taken in realtime via MyMee.
The data is fully navigable, and many other tracked variables can be brought in as needed. The pictures allow the user to recall what was happening when various other measures become interesting. This “data-assisted recall” seems to help provide meaning and context to what would otherwise be a bunch of numbers.
Some critical elements determined so far:
1. The data must be controlled by the self-tracker, and gathered only for the self-tracker. They might choose to share it with helpers (coach, doctor) who are assisting with their experiment. Otherwise, if privacy is unclear, there seems to be an impediment to the kind of full-disclosure that’s needed to achieve greater insight.
2. In this vein, an open-source and individually-controlled data repository seems to be the best model, a la BodyTrack (http://bodytrack NULL.org).
3. Subjective and photo data is critical to providing context and recall, which adds meaning to the numbers.
4. Experimental design for self-tracking experiments is critical, especially defining terms precisely to assist in gathering meaningful subjective data. For example, tracking “mood” seemed to be too vague for me to get meaningful data. After working with my Quant Coach (project collaborator Anne Wright (http://twitter NULL.com/annerwright) of BodyTrack), I have found it more interesting and precise to track “agitation” and “optimism.” More on this later.
Ok, back to the Medicine 2.0 (http://medicine20congress NULL.com) conference where we will be discussing this on a panel (http://med2 NULL.eventbrite NULL.com) and presenting more details later today.