Project HealthDesign, Meet Quantified Self

This post originally appeared on the Project HealthDesign Blog.

Libby Dowdall, Communications Coordinator, Project HealthDesign National Program Office

QS-Conference-logo This weekend, we’re sending Project HealthDesign National Program Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., out to California to participate in the inaugural Quantified Self Conference. The Quantified Self describes itself as a community of users and tool makers who share an interest in self-knowledge through self-tracking.” Health and wellness topics are some of the most frequent topics for self-experimentation.

Outside the conference, Quantified Self community members hold regular “Show & Tell” meetups in 15 U.S. cities and around the world. The largest and longest-standing meetup occurs in the San Francisco Bay Area and is hosted by Quantified Self Co-Founders Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly, along with Quantified Self Director Alexandra Carmichael.

What types of things do Quantifies Self community members track, analyze and optimize?

  • Seth Roberts spent several months tracking how his work efficiency varied by time of day and found that his efficiency improved when he began reviewing the data visually in a progress display graph.
  • Matt Bell used a Zeo to track his sleep data in order to optimize his sleep quality (which he anticipated would boost his energy during the day). So far, he’s learned that meeting new people in the evening and having emotionally difficult conversations late at night negatively impact his sleep. Watch a video of Matt to learn more about his experiment.

Self-quantifiers track lots of different things as they seek to optimize their lives. Even simple experiments have yielded useful results.

Quantified Self, Meet Project HealthDesign

Project HealthDesign’s first nine project teams completed a user-centered design process to create health tools that provide people with actionable information to help them manage their health. The patients who interacted with these teams helped us to recognize the concept of observations of daily living (ODLs). ODLs are sensations, feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that provide cues to a person about their health state.

Our five current teams are examining how personal health technology tools can collect and integrate observations of daily living (ODLs) into personal health decision-making and clinical care. They’re currently conducting studies to find out which ODLs patients value and how tracking ODLs impacts people’s health in everyday living.

If you’re part of the Quantified Self community, we want to learn from you! Because ODLs are personally meaningful health indicators, many self-quantifiers are already experimenting with data about ODLs like mood, stress level, sleep quality, socializing, etc. Engage with our work by reading our blog or sharing your recent experiments with us on Twitter (@prjhealthdesign). We look forward to more Project HealthDesign/Quantified Self introductions!