Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Different Chronic Illnesses Demand Different Connected Health Strategies [Reblog]

From a May 2015 post at The cHealth blog

….

We made a decision some years ago to build the case for connected health around the management of these illnesses because:

  1. They are costly. By some estimates these chronic diseases account for 70% of U.S. health care costs.
  2. They have a significant lifestyle component. This backdrop seems an ideal canvas for connected health interventions because they involve motivational psychology, self-tracking and engagement with health messages. These chronic illnesses pose a unique challenge in that the lifestyle choices that accelerate them are for the most part pleasurable (another piece of cheese cake? spending Sunday afternoon on the couch watching football, smoking more cigarettes and drinking more beer.) In contrast, the reward for healthy behavior is abstract and distant (a few more minutes of life sometime down the road or an avoided heart attack or stroke). This combination of lack of symptoms and the uphill battle around lifestyle improvement makes these illnesses uniquely challenging.
  3. They are mostly amenable to tracking some objective bit of information about you (e.g. your blood pressure, blood glucose or activity level) in order to make you more aware and, hopefully improve your lifestyle in order to improve your health.

20100811 - Wednesday, August 11, 2010, Fairhaven, MA, USA – LIGHTCHASER PHOTOGRAPHY – Images of a Mass General Hospital diabetes patient in his own home using an advanced home monitoring system for the Partners HealthCare Center for Connected Health's 2010 Progress Report, Forward Currents.   ( lightchaser photography 2010 © image by j. kiely jr. )

 

 

ocused on these illnesses and the attendant challenges, we developed programs for home blood pressure monitoring, home glucose monitoring and various activity challenges (nothing on cholesterol just yet). By iteration, trial and error, we’ve become comfortable with the psychology around these illnesses and how it affects both our ability to manage patients and the patient’s ability to improve these conditions.

Because these conditions are silent and because most people would rather not be reminded that they have an illness, we found that a strong engagement platform is needed to get people’s attention. We also found that we need to create tools that nudge people to adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle rather than ignore our natural tendencies to ignore these silent conditions and engage in unhealthy behaviors.

Read the entire blog post here 

July 20, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Self-Rated Health Puts Aging, Health Needs On the Agenda

World Health Organization Regions

World Health Organization Regions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 23 October ScienceDaily article

 

mplementation of national surveys where the population can estimate and assess their own health may give policy makers important insights into the different health interventions that should be implemented. According Siddhivinayak Hirve, PhD student at Umeå University, this may include a simple tool that harmonizes the assessment of health in developing countries with the rest of the world.

When the World Health Organization, WHO, conducted a study of aging in a global context and health among adults, in 2007, they asked the simple question “In general, how would you rate your health today?” The results showed that every other elderly person, over 50, who lived in rural areas in India said that they felt very bad, bad, or moderate.

In his thesis, Siddhivinayak Hirve has examined the factors that influence the assessment of own estimated health in older individuals in the population in rural India. The thesis shows that women report worse health than men. Self-reported health also deteriorated with age. The effect of age in terms of self-rated health was affected by participants’ ability to move, ability to see, hearing, relationships, pain, sleeping problems, and more.

“Smoking and use of tobacco were factors that could be linked to at least one chronic disease, which in turn affected the self-reported health effects,” says Siddhivinayak Hirve. “Our studies also demonstrate that a large social network results in better self-rated health and also a higher quality of life.”

A four-year follow-up study that Siddhivinayak Hirve has conducted showed that the risk of dying was larger in those who reported poorer health compared with those who reported that they had good or very good health at the start of the study

Siddhivinayak Hirve concludes, based on his findings, that it is possible to use information on self-rated health from major national surveys, such as the planning of health care, even in small, isolated areas.

“My goal of this thesis has been to put aging on the agenda, both among scholars and policy makers,” says Siddhivinayak Hirve. “This is particularly important in countries where it has a rapidly aging population. The value of asking the simple question, “In general, how do you feel today?” Is very high and can be very helpful to identify health needs, and plan for targeted interventions in health. This is particularly true in developing countries.”

He also points out that measurements of self-rated health provides a driving force to strengthen research on health for the adult and aging populations in low-and middle-income countries that harmonize with international research.

Thesis is available for viewing at: http://umu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:653335

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

 

October 24, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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