Observations of Daily Living and Personal Health Records

kk.jpgFollowing up on Gilles Frydman’s comments about Observations of Daily Living (ODL), we found another ODL post by e-Patients Group ally Kevin Kelly at The Quantified Self:

Detailed quantifiable self-observation has a new handle. It is called ODL or Observations of Daily Living. The idea is that if you monitor your body in your daily life over time you’ll have more than just a snapshot of your health, you’ll have baselines and long-term trends.

He links to Project HealthDesign, which is about personal health record systems. From that site’s overview:

If PHR products and services are to realize their potential to help people lead healthy lives and become engaged participants in their care, they must evolve in ways that maximize opportunities for innovation in meeting the varied needs of a population that has increasingly diverse health needs and goals. Ideally, PHR systems also should be responsive to patients’ different levels of self-efficacy, health literacy, familial supports, technological fluency and other factors. For any individual, a personal health record in the years to come might encompass the medical records that result from care delivered by multiple health care providers, observations such as weight or glucose readings that a person records directly, and data collected passively in the home and/or work environment by sensors and other biomonitors.

In his post, Gilles had linked to a useful primer published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Health Populi blog also has a post on ODL with an interesting follow-up comment by Steve Downs of Project Health Design:

The prominence that ODLs (as opposed to items in the institutional/clinical record) took as our project teams went through their user-centered design processes was one of the early findings from Project HealthDesign. Many people were looking for the sort of immediate feedback that would allow them to take action — and that required data on how they live day to day.


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4 Responses to “Observations of Daily Living and Personal Health Records”

  1. There is at least one additional document of interest.
    Entitled Project HealthDesign Common Platform Components Functional Requirements it includes from page 32 to 46 all the requirements & definitions for the ODLs.

    In its introduction the document has a clear definition of ODL:

    Observations captured in the course of daily living: Resources to help PHAs store, aggregate, analyze, and share data recorded by patients that are relevant to the management of their health or medical conditions and that are captured outside of their encounters with the health care system.

    PHA stands for Personal Health Applications.

    According to the document

    A record of health-related observations captured in the course of daily living can be a valuable resource to help patients track and manage their own illnesses, to help health care providers monitor and better treat their patients, and to help patients and their health care providers collaborate in their care more effectively.
    There are two general types of observations that are useful for patients to record in the course of daily living:

    1. Actions performed by or on the patient: For example, a medication administration, the ingestion of a meal, participation in an exercise activity, etc.

    2. Subjective or objective characteristics of the patient’s state: For example, a glucose measurement, a blood-pressure reading, the sensation of pain, the perception of mood, the appearance of a rash

  2. Susannah Fox says:

    Sally Squires, a Washington Post health columnist, highlights a study today that shows the value of recording a basic ODL: what you eat. But the twist is that it wasn’t an internet intervention — participants just used paper & pencil and two-thirds of them lost weight. However, writing it all down did become boring for some, who switched to an online solution.

    I can’t find the link to the study (maybe Squires has a pre-release copy) but here are links to the journal where it will appear and the sponsor.

    Also, I wanted to highlight our previous discussion of the Quantified Self and 23andMe

  3. Dan Hoch says:

    I haven’t read all the citations noted in these and the earlier entries, but I think one aspect that’s not being given enough time is the need for proper display of this quantified information. One of my heros, Edward Tufte, has been preaching the importance of the visual presentation of information for years. After taking some of his courses, and reading his books, it’s difficult not to join his camp. Among other examples, he’s made a very strong argument that had NASA engineers presented the information about temperature and O-ring failure differently, it would have been pretty obvious that the Challenger should not launch on that fateful day. Similar issues surround the way we look at quantified health data.

  4. Tom Stitt says:

    @MeredithGould Re pt tracking chronic illness, same notion as Observatiions of Daily Living aka ODL? http://cli.gs/ST6epy #hcsm

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