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What if Self-Tracking Goes Mainstream?

Does the future include everyone measuring themselves in some way and contributing that data to research? Quite possibly, but it’s more complicated than that.

Ladies, get the mobile health app designed just for you! It's pink!


Okay, I admit it, I took the bait. I try not to write about every mobile health app I come across, but this one definitely caught my attention.

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't let you send that email

Suppose you manage a sales team. Of course you don't want them coming across as angry or anxious or pushy. Now suppose, instead, that you could screen the tone of your sales team's emails to make sure that they're only happy and helpful. Would you do it?

Forget the carrot, I need the stickK (or do I?)

Quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape. Now that we are three weeks into 2010, how many of us need help sticking to our New Year's resolutions? Consider signing a "commitment contract" that would set forth, for example, an exercise goal over a period of time, and what it will cost you if you fail to meet that goal. Because loss aversion is a powerful psychological tool, the idea is that you will be more inclined to stick to the desired behavior (exercising) rather than incur a penalty.

How did you sleep last night?

As my colleagues know, that I am blogging at this hour of the morning is an indication that I have had a bad night's sleep.  I am not alone. Approximately 29 percent of U.S. adults report sleeping less than seven hours per night (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommend seven to nine hours) and as many as 70 million have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders.

Crowdsourcing health research

CureTogether recently announced that using only patient-reported data, it has confirmed the infertility-asthma association that has previously been explored only in clinical studies.  In an analysis of 324 patients, those who report infertility are 1.9x more likely to report having asthma than patients who don't report infertility. 

Within the 34 people reporting infertility, 13 (38%) reported having asthma (the remaining 21 out of 34 specifically said they did NOT have asthma). Within the 290 people reporting quot;no infertility", 58 (20%) reported having asthma (the remaining 232 specifically reported NOT having asthma). This 38% vs. 20% relative risk is statistically significant, with a 95% confidence interval of 1.4 - 2.6.

CureTogether is "a collaboration of people from around the world volunteering to solve real problems in chronic conditions" by self-reporting and rating symptoms and treatments for over 360 conditions. The website enables people to track their health, compare their experiences to others, and make more informed health decisions based on this self-knowledge and collective wisdom.

CureTogether co-founder Alexandra Carmichael participated on a panel about "Building the Health Commons" at our HC2020 Spring Conference, during which we discussed the culture of participation, cooperation, and commons thinking that may be needed to address the challenges of the future of health and health care.  I have also blogged about Alex and self-tracking here.

Getting Paid to Lose Weight

Would you lose weight for $1,000? HealthyWage, a company that announced its public launch this week, believes that the promise of a financial incentive will encourage people to set health goals, such as losing weight, and stick with them for an extended period of time, and that they can create a viable business by offering these incentives.
According to TechCrunch, here's how HealthyWage works:

More on the quantification of oneself

I mentioned the other day the idea of the quantified self.  While doing some research for Health Care 2020, I came across a journal article that discussed quantified self-tracking in the context of emerging patient-driven health care models. Author Melanie Swan answers the question I often struggle with: Why do people self-monitor? 

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