The participants from various organizations definitely saw the idea as an innovative way forward. Some great examples were brought up on why and how such a system could contribute to creating better health outcomes, provide economical advantages and prevent mistakes and oversights, and halt a growing inequality of health care access, stress and disengagement.
It was a great learning experience to see how lack of adequate health information for those disadvantaged such as the blind, deaf, sick children, people with chronic diseases, parents and caregivers ethnic groups leads to inability to manage, monitor or even access appropriate health care. For use by the blind the tool would need integration with ‘talking data’ but it was considered to be very positive for the hearing-impaired, as a very needed communication tool with health professionals. Also some noted this would be a great tool for recording children’s health – as children`s complete information is usually only known by the parents, but when the child reaches adulthood this information can be forgotten, or not passed on etc.
Almost 40 minutes discussion among 13 participants brought up lots of issues. The main ones examined were privacy and security. Some participants made the counter point that Lifetime Health Diary can be useful for privacy issues. Additionally some commented that privacy waivers are common place. The consensus seemed to be that perfect privacy and security are an ideal that must be strived for, but that it is even more important to simply start.
One example was given where deaf people health consultations often result in shouted conversations in front of other people, whereas this kind of Diary could act as a mediation tool.
Some barriers in uptake were identified as well. Computer literacy, access to the internet, cultural readiness and acceptance were those listed by participants.
Everybody`s involvement was definitely a sign of a great need to address current problems in a fast and cost efficient manner. The bottom-up approach was seen as the way to go, as community-based solutions are needed. Although many questions were fielded, there was a huge recognition and understanding that the Diary is a positive way forward and although there are no perfect solutions to some of the issues, a start needs to be made.
The participants suggested a couple of funding opportunities including the Tindall Foundation and Working Together More Fund, the Health Innovation Fund at the ACC, The Ministry of Health and some internal programs run by participating organizations expressed their readiness to work together.
First steps forward
First step needs to be taken! The opportunity to do so will be in a study run by a team of Ignite Consultants. From Monday 23rd of August, five highly motivated, talented and hand-picked students will start to explore how Lifetime Health Diary™ can be helpful for different community groups. Study will be concentrated on the readiness of particular communities, including examining the motivation, perception, potential barriers, as well as looking into the usability of the technology which needs to be adjusted to the specific needs of people on the ground. The team of students will be working for 8 weeks under the guidance of Alec Holt, the Director of the Health Informatics program at Otago University as well as mentors from the not-for-profit community
We believe that by working collaboratively on enabling the most disadvantaged in our communities and their caregivers to have better access to relevant and needed health information (which they can share with their doctors and other health professionals) can truly lead not only to better health outcomes, but significantly improve the quality of lives, engage and empower people to take charge of their health.
The Project is about to start…!