Excerpt from an article on The Medtech Pulse blog:
“Many of the people who come to my office…have come because modern medicine has failed them in some way, or they have used up its power to help them and they know not what else to do.” —Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
A couple of weeks ago, at Stanford Medicine X, Paul Abramson MD used that quotation to kick off a presentation on how the Quantified Self movement is intersecting with medicine. Abramson, originally an electrical engineer by training, discovered he was more motivated by listening to people’s stories and trying to help them than doing research in engineering. He then enrolled in medical school, and eventually began practicing family medicine. Later on, he began to dabble in self tracking to find out why he had been experiencing recurrent headaches. He later used data garnered from the experiments to link the headaches to a sleep problem and had an epiphany: “Why can’t we do [something similar] for a lot of people?”
Among the biggest problems in medicine, as Abramson sees it, is a lack of patient empowerment and poor customer service. The Quantified Self movement can be harnessed to help address such problems, he explained. In many ways, what health trackers are doing is an extension of a long medical tradition. “Doctors have been prescribing headache logs for people with migraines and dietary logs [for a long time.]” While the Quantified self movement gives adherents new power to monitor their health, most people, however, have limited success with self tracking unless they are highly motivated, he acknowledged. To deal with that issue, Abramson has come up with a paradigm in his medical practice to put the patient in touch with a data-tracking coach as well as the doctor. “It is a team based approach but it is really based on this self-exploratory model.” The quant coach works with a patient as a peer to help motivate them and interpret their health data.
You may find the original article here: http://www.qmed.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/why-quantified-self-movement-will-continue-make-inroads-medicine (http://www NULL.qmed NULL.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/why-quantified-self-movement-will-continue-make-inroads-medicine)