Sunday, July 28, 2013

You and the Feedback Loop

The Georgetown Advocate
Webster Russell

It's been a while since I introduced you to one of those nerdy terms or phrases that are seldom used in normal conversation, so I thought, “lets do it again”. The phrase is “Feedback Loop”.

Innocuous as this phrase appears, it is the essential tool to the delivery and reception of quality patient healthcare. Now that's a pretty bold statement, so let me make my case.

Technology now plays a very important role in the feedback loop's success. I am going to use diabetes as an example. Part one of the feedback loop is personalized data. It is here you gather blood sugar, medication and dietary adherence data between physician visits. To accomplish this there are at least 90 or so iOS and Android apps that deal with diabetes documentation. The more committed you are to this documentation the better the outcomes can be.

The second section is relevance. Many of these apps have “normals” built in or the ability to add your doctors therapy expectations. These apps then look at your results and show the results in graphs or other formats of your efforts compared to your doctors expectations or app normals.

The third segment is choices. Based on the data you collected and its relation to your physician's expectations or normals, choices are created and agreed upon so you can go to the next step.

The next segment is action. You have collected data, compared it to expectations, reached some conclusions, determined your choices, selected a plan of action, and now you implement the new plan.

Once that plan is implemented, you start all over again with collecting personalized data to ascertain if the new plan you and your physician choose is going to meet your goals. Being a circle, these processes continue until no longer necessary.

Now I have used diabetes for this discussion, but this feedback loop can be used for any chronic disease treatment such as pain management, asthma, COPD, or cancer. To reiterate a past admonition, committing to the data collection process is the key to successfully using this evolution and today's smart phones and tablets make using the feedback loop not only easy, but educational as well.

On a personal note, we have been using the feedback loop process with the oncologist for almost a year and it has not only served us well but has helped him in his treatment approach as well.

- Posted using my iPad

Location:Georgetown TX,United States

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