Last month I wrote a blog pointing to this New York Times article, The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records where a patient called Steven Keating likely saved his own life by helping his medical team find a tennis ball sized tumor in his brain — a tumor they otherwise would not have been aware of until something serious went wrong with Steven’s health.
Ubiquitous cloud computing, ubiquitous devices in our hands, and ubiquitous sensors automatically reading our body’s outputs have completely changed the reality of healthcare delivery and monitoring. Personalized medicine is now well underway, and there is a lot that we can do as consumers and patients to immediately take advantage of that. Even if you don’t want to buy and wear a dedicated health band like Fitbit, it is likely that the phone in your pocket can capture a range of basic health measures such as steps, heart rate, sleep, and stress.
This is all about closing the loop between your everyday life health status and your medical records on file which contain historical data on you. Medical records are like looking in the rear view mirror of a car – they show where you have been, not where you are now. Secondly, by consciously tracking your symptoms, feelings, and health status over time, you are much more likely to notice when something is out of alignment with how you are normally. Trend lines over time help expose how we really are, not how we think we are. The problem with relying on memory is that changes in health can creep up on us so slowly that it is only when we suddenly run into a major problem that we notice how off track we had actually become.
If we are sensitive to changes, and have a solid sense of how we normally are, then we significantly increase our chances of catching things turning awry before they turn into a big issue. Don’t miss out on the new possibilities through health apps of keeping track of your health and your family’s health. I might even suggest that you choose a premium health app like ours that not only tracks your personal health data, but can automatically feed it into your overall medical history, and correlates the two together! Ultimately, both sets of data have to be correlated in order to understand and monitor your own unique health story.