EMPOWERMENT THROUGH DIGITAL HEALTH
Equipped with wearables, smart scales and apps, Global Liver Institute’s Founder, President & CEO Donna Cryer feels empowered to manage her day-to-day health and partner with her doctors in her healthcare.
Following her inspirational story on This Is MedTech – when she spoke about the diagnosis of her autoimmune conditions and her subsequent liver transplant and colectomy – Donna talks more about how personal devices are helping her to manage her health and live a very full life.
“Medical technologies have played a huge part in my life over the years, from the contact lenses I wear and the knee replacements that I have had, to all of the cameras and surgical devices and images that I use several times a year in my post-transplant monitoring,” Donna says. And while she continues to benefit from many devices used in the hospital setting, Donna is also passionate about the use of personal technology that delivers a continuous picture of her health.
Using wearables on her wrist, as well as smart scales and apps, Donna is able to quantify her lived experience as a patient in a different way. “What I eat, how much energy I have, how active I am, how much my heart rate does or doesn’t raise with exercise. Rather than relating the information periodically, I can show a graph, improving the accuracy of my reporting,” Donna explains.
This data collection has helped guide clinical decisions in Donna’s life. “There have been several instances where my use of the data – daily and passively collected for the most part – has changed the dynamics of conversations with my physicians,” Donna says.
“The decision to do my knee replacements was data driven from patient-generated data,” Donna continues, giving just one example. “It is one thing when they try to quantify the pain, but when you are able to show a decline in daily activity and the temporary increases with cortisol injections, but with waning effect… it gave us both – surgeon and patient – the confidence that we were making the decision to have the operation at the right time.”
Donna also talks about the weight gain caused by her medication, which she says might have been put down to “eating a little too much over the holiday” without the graph from her smart scales. “The use of the data, and the fact that they format it in graphs that speak the language of my physicians, brings a degree of credibility, so my doctors can see what I have seen and experienced on a daily basis,” Donna explains.
Donna is not only enthusiastic about the power of personal health data to enable informed patient-physician conversations, but she also talks about its value in registries, and the importance of the patient experience in guiding innovation and regulatory decisions.
“It is technology enabling culture change,” Donna says. “That is part of the value that I see in new technologies and why I am so excited about them.”