Recently, I sat down with Dr. John Moore, Researcher in the New Media Medicine Group of the MIT Media Lab.
“With our CollaboRhythm, we are redefining the relationship between the patient and their doctor”, explained John. “Instead of being in control, the doctor is serving as a coach to help the patient with their care planning and delivery.”
As I watched the demo, what surprised me the most was that the patient was interacting with the flat screen displaying her information and deciding about her upcoming treatment. John described what was happening. “This is ‘shared decision making’ in action where the patient determines what changes she wants to make and even schedules her medication while the doctor is by her side providing guidance as needed.”
When the patient leaves her doctor’s office, she is ready to follow through on the plans she made. “All of the follow- up information has been pushed to the electronic devices that she will rely on. Her pill dispenser has been automatically programmed. Her mobile phone is ready to receive the reminders and the necessary sensors are in place to track her activities”, John mentions with a smile.
Next, I saw a demo of the “I’m Listening” project, designed to bring the patient into her own care management process. The patient is relaxing on a coach in her living room with a cup of coffee as she is having a conversation with an “avatar” on her flat screen television. “The avatar agent asks the patient questions to gather information for her clinician. This gives the patient more freedom to share her story at her own pace”, explains John. When the patient wants to show the sore on her foot to her doctor, she lifts her foot in front of the build- in camera to have a picture taken.
I was interested to learn that this system takes all of the information gathered including the ‘words of the patient’ as well as photos and organizes it for her next doctor's appointment which she schedules. Notice the time savings for the doctor and the convenience for the patient.
With both projects, the patient has a more proactive role in managing their own health, the doctor remains in an “expert” role and their collaboration and communication are enabled through technology.
What About You?
- What are you doing to empower consumers?
- How are you engaging consumers to share their health data with you?
- Are you gathering and organizing the consumers' health information to support care decisions?
Although MIT's patient- focused products were developed in the lab, there is so much we can learn from their approach. They put the patient in control of their health with access to information and collaboration with their clinician for guidance. Technology plays an important role of seamlessly moving the patient's information to where it is needed (e.g. devices) for further interaction. During these interactions, technology enables the collection of patient data to support shared health decisions.