Earlier this year the New York Times published the article The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records. In it, a patient called Steven Keating monitored what years earlier had been described as a “slight abnormality” in a scan of his brain. Years later, when Steven began to notice some unusual smell-related symptoms, he insisted that his doctors perform an MRI – resulting in the discovery of a tennis ball sized tumor in his brain. Immediate surgery was successful, and Steven can likely owe his life these days to his pro-activity as a patient in tracking his symptoms.
Our own system started with the belief that a health professional should be a “coach” for patients. And, that a better way of capturing and monitoring patient symptoms while away from the clinic was essential to keeping people healthy and catching problems early. At the time (2003), the technology required to easily enable patient to health professional communications did not exist. With smart phones, tablets, cloud computing, and now devices and sensors, it is indeed possible for patients to log their symptoms and other parts of their health, and have those presented in summary format whenever needed by the patient’s care team.
This opens up a new world of patient – health professional collaboration in the manner envisaged of Coach & Student.
And the great thing is that, just like Mr. Keating, the more engaged we become as patients in monitoring our health and presenting it in summary format to health professionals when needed, the higher the chance we may even be able to “coach” our healthcare team as to the true nature of our condition!