Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Participation in Health Goals

Participatory medicine and best outcomes for patients were part of a Twitter conversation about health goals at the Stanford MedX Conference (#MedX). I collected this series of tweets and put it into a storify called Goals Tweets From MedX
Seeing this series of Tweets made me think. We never stop working on personal goals, but I hadn't thought about health goals beyond the generic "better health".  Nor have I asked my doctor what he thinks I could achieve.  I imagine we have similar treatment goals but sharing them might help both of us proceed more effectively.

                                           It's a beat up DeSoto

I wonder if my doctor thinks of me as a beat up old car that he is trying to keep on the road, or if he sees more hope than that. It must be easy for health care professionals to generalize in this area because deep down there are many similarities in what patients want.

Here is a paper about Shared Decision Making tweeted by @EmpoweringPts which even shows a form which can be used to make collaborating on health goals with your doctor easier.   

Managing goals can help patients to deal with depression and anxiety symptoms according to this paper titled A Goal Management Intervention for Polyarthritis Patients.  The authors say emotional well-being is a key factor in prognosis, i.e. how well you will do in the future. You need more than just the absence of psychological distress to do well.  These are the three factors that affect emotional well-being the most: "positive affect, purpose in life and social participation" You can read the full paper at the link. 
I was very impressed by this comment made by @AmyCueva at Stanford MedX when she said that emotional intensity signals an unmet need. That is easy for patients to believe. She continues “You must pay attention to pain, frustration, and anger. Our responses to the many authentic, emotional voices we hear are testament to the critical importance of the story".

                                Emotional Intensity from

Another interesting development that I don't know much about yet is from Britt Johnson who tweets as HurtBlogger. She and Creaky Joints have developed a goals app for chronic patients called The Goal Machine. The focus of current apps on self measure data may not satisfy us as chronic patients so the new app attempts to address that.

Wonderful human perspective from  about  - how to apply to individualized goals of patients, not athletes 

@HurtBlogger chronic patients have different goals: bathing, walking up stairs, cooking dinner, going to work, exercising, medication compliance  

I look forward to hearing more and have added the link to Creaky Joints above.


  1. Thanks for the giggle "I wonder if my doctor thinks of me as a beat up old car that he is trying to keep on the road..."

  2. Glad you liked it. Note that it is a "classic"old car too. I actually said that to a rheumatologist I met for another purpose and she was shocked. I hope there are very few with that attitude