Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But have you heard of #GivingTuesday™?
This year, the movement to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season has come to Canada and MedicAlert Foundation is proud to be involved in spreading the word.
#GivingTuesday ultimately celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support registered charities or non-profit organizations.
Being dubbed the “opening day of the giving season,” this year, December 3, 2013 is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.
As one of many charities who rally for your support, we’ve made it our mission since 1961 to protect and save lives by serving as the information link between Canadians and emergency responders during medical crises or other times of need. Your gift helps ensure emergency responders and hospital staff get critical medical information when it matters most –– and that those who live in financial hardship have the support they need through subsidized programs like No Child Without and Membership Assistance.
Join thousands of others and support those in need this #GivingTuesday. Visit us at medicalert.ca/donate to make a difference.
Most people have experienced this: you are driving along and then all of a sudden a trouble light starts to flash on your dash. Your car’s computer is telling you to take your car in for servicing. So you do, which involves your mechanic reading the trouble code with specialized equipment that is hooked up to your car and then, of course, hands you a bill for this service.
When something is wrong, your car knows, but only your mechanic can access this information and this costs you.
Similarly, your physician has access to information about you and what might be wrong – and sometimes accessing this information (YOURS) costs you.
Fortunately, this situation is changing as more and more physicians see the value in sharing such information with their patients. Some progressive physicians even take the time to review patient information with the patient at the end of the visit, which not only helps the individual become engaged in their own healthcare but also catches any possible errors in the data.
I’d like free access to my healthcare information and results. Wouldn’t you?
P.S. I’d also like my car to tell me exactly what that flashing light means!
One of the great things about the web is that it enables various forms of interactive technology that are both simple and compelling to use. Here are the four that made it on my favourites list:
1. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada: Make Health Last Risk Assessment https://makehealthlast.ca
A world-class health assessment tool. It’s fun to use and produces valuable insights on your health. It looks really good too!
2. CDA Diabetes: Interactive learning modules http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthylivingseries/
Want to know more about diabetes? These modules are easy to follow and organized so you can watch only those you are most interested in.
3. Realage.com Realage.com
If you are a Dr. Oz fan you will already know about this site. Commercially focused but nonetheless the technique of comparing your age with your real age (a calculation based on your current state of health and health behaviours) really gets you thinking. No one likes to be told that they are older than they really are!
4. WebMD symptom checker http://www.symptoms.webmd.com
Another commercial site but a good example of how technology is (and will be) harnessed to engage people in their own healthcare.
Personal health monitoring devices have been around a long time (remember the old mechanical pedometers?) but are now evolving at a breakneck pace.
The popular Nike Fuelband and Fitbit are now joined by dozens of other devices that track distance, movement, calories taken in and burned off, sleep patterns and more.
New smartphones like the iPhone have sophisticated motion sensors that can measure physical activity in novel ways. In all cases, data is translated into messages, images and contests that are intended to help people live a healthy life.
Many people swear by these devices and have indicated that they have made a significant difference in their life – to help them lose weight and exercise more. The market for wearable technology is forecasted to grow to $12 billion in the next 5 years.
My own experience is that this technology is cool to try but is not compelling enough to incorporate into my everyday routine. In a sense, I think that these devices are no different from buying a gym membership or home exercise equipment. They will make a major difference to a small group of people and make a short-term difference to the rest. I think of them as useful aids to prod me to change my behaviour – but the rest is up to me.
What do you think? Will these devices be around in the long-term or are they a short-term fad?
There are few things more mundane than your electricity bill. I never looked at mine in any serious way when I received it in the mail and more often than not I’d just throw it away. Eventually I caved in to the flood of requests that encouraged me to switch to paperless billing. And you know what, an interesting thing happened when I made the switch – I started to pay attention to our family’s use of electricity.
My electrical utility company has provided us with a whole suite of online tools to help me and my family better understand how we use electricity, what it costs and how we can conserve. In addition, it gave us access to a range of historical data that previously was not practical to do. It has caused me to actually change my behaviour (a tall order!) to reduce my electricity costs.
An everyday example of accessing stats and figures about our family’s electricity consumption over time brought the point home – information, however mundane, can be very powerful.
What will happen when we have access to our healthcare information where and when we want it? The result, I believe, will be nothing short of revolutionary. Better personal health information coupled with better tools to analyze and make sense of it will change how we take care of ourselves and loved ones. The “how” and “why” will be the subject of my next four postings.
Have you had an “ah-ha” moment because of access to information that led you to make a chance, no matter how small, in your life?