Health Sensemaking

Creating free and open source public intelligence tools for sensemaking about health topics, especially related to nutrition. I have previously posted information about this idea here:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1897006&cid=34459370

About You

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About You

First Name

Paul

Last Name

Fernhout

Facebook Profile

About Your Organization

Organization Name

Independent

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

Edinburg, NY 12134

Organization Country

United States, NY, Saratoga County

Country where this project is creating social impact

United States

Is your organization a

For‐profit

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation

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Entry Form title

Health Sensemaking

What change do you want to bring to the world?

Creating free and open source public intelligence tools for sensemaking about health topics, especially related to nutrition. I have previously posted information about this idea here:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1897006&cid=34459370

What are the primary activities of your project?

Developing free and open source software to support groups of people stigmergically creating structured arguments about health topics, connecting conclusions about best health practices with supporting evidence from scientific studies, personal anecdotes, conceptual models and simulations through the use of structured arguments and multi-perspective tools.

What is innovative about your initiative? How is it a new contribution to the field?

Right now, most people are doing medical sensemaking in an adhoc way. Dr. Joel Fuhrman's excellent work or Dr. Andrew Weil's excellent work or the Blue Zones project and related books are examples of the best one can do with an ad-hoc approach driven mostly by one very smart and motivated individual; the question is, can we do better? The Cochrane Collaboration has one approach that is more structured, but it is not holistic and focuses on just scientific studies, which is problematical when recent news has show how financial conflicts of interest have compromised much of the health literature. We need better tools that let lots of people with diverse perspectives work together in a somewhat structured way.

The excellent movie "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" by Joe Cross is another example of one person trying to making sense of medical things on his own after getting terrible advice from most doctors, showing how much this remains a real and pressing problem. But even that leaves out details like "The Pleasure Trap" that Dr. Doug Lisle has written about, or stuff on vitamin D that Dr. John Cannell has written about. We need to do better. Doing better would literally free up trillions of dollars worth of funds every year currently going to medicalized sick care that could instead go into other socially responsible projects.

What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

Everyone interested in their health, and in particular, those with chronic health conditions (obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and cancer) who have been poorly served by a medical system focusing on proprietary magic bullets and in practice ignores the value of eating more vegetables, getting exercise in sunlight, spiritual aspects of health, and more (whatever may be said in theory).

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

I suffered with several chronic health conditions like border-line obesity, joint pain, lack of mental clarity, and other issues. Through years of research on the internet, I discovered the writings of people like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Andrew Weil, and Dr. John Cannell, whose advice about improving my lifestyle and eating habits have helped me lose and keep of 50 pounds and reduce my blood pressure by 20+ points and feel a lot better. But it was difficult to wade through all the misinformation out there (it literally took years). I have also had several relatives suffer and even die as a consequence of bad medical advice. My own child suffered when I asked our pediatrician about vitamin D supplements for our infant (which I had learned about) and got bad advice to not use them (leading to related health problems). How many other kids were harmed? I wish I could go back in time and tell my relatives and doctors what I know now about health, but I can't. I would at least like to help others learn what I have learned (as appropriate for their specific individual circumstances), but be able to do it with more confidence and more quickly.

Social Impact

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Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

This project is at the idea stage. It could be measured by how many people begin to use related software and databases and the feedback they provide on how useful that is.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

Fewer than 100

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

One thousand users.

Task 1

Develop related software.

Task 2

Put initial related content in it from public sources, ideally getting agreement from some major author like Dr. Joel Fuhrman to put in all his references as starting points.

Task 3

Promote the software and a related website.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

One hundred thousand people using the software and contributing to thousands of structured discussions about health issues.

Task 1

More promotion of the website and tools.

Task 2

Accepting critical user feedback and using it to improve the system.

Task 3

Finding funding partners or becoming a non-profit accepting donations.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Although the tools themselves might be very different than wikis, the project would feel like the first few years of the Wikipedia project. There are many lessons that can be taken from that project to help make the process go more smoothly.

Sustainability

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What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Funding; lack of time. Building on top of parallel projects (like Rakontu) would help this along.

Tell us about your partnerships

I have raised the issue of developing such a system both with Dr. Joel Fuhrman and the Cochrane Collaboration, but there is no definite partnership.

Current annual budget of project, in US dollars

Less than $1,000

Explain your selections

This project is is the idea stage, so I've just thought about it as I've had time.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

I would like to build these capabilities into other tools like Rakontu and hope for the best. I don't have detailed plans beyond that at this point.

Challenges

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Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Health behavior change

SECONDARY

Limited access to preventative tools or resources

TERTIARY

Other (Specify Below)

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

This project addresses the issue of getting people more involved in their own health care by providing computer-based tools that make this easier and more engaging. The project helps people collectively build open solutions from a diverse range of perspectives and explore them in a systematic way, which goes way beyond the kind of proprietary health information sites currently out there.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Leveraged technology

SECONDARY

Grown geographic reach: Global

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

This system would focus mainly on internet-based collaboration technology, and then eventually, as the idea spread, it would effect health care practices throughout the world. There is a book "Where There is No Doctor". This would be like the web equivalent, especially to address the problem of for "Where Your Doctor is Clueless About Preventing or Treating Chronic Disease (which is all too often everywhere)".

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Several interesting related ideas have come up.

154 weeks ago Paul Fernhout said: Tosin- Thanks for asking. In general, the project would be developed as open source software using tools like GitHub and Eclipse, ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
164 weeks ago said: This is a really great idea. It would be great if you can add more information about the open source software such as technology to be ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
166 weeks ago Paul Fernhout updated this Competition Entry.
166 weeks ago Paul Fernhout submitted this idea.