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 Post subject: Self trackers at HF?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 10
I've been kind of a half-assed self tracker for a while. (If you don't know what I mean by self tracking you might want to check out http://quantifiedself.com/ which is a decent hub on that topic.) I mention this here because I always thought of self tracking as a kind of hacking yourself, trying to get the organism that is you to do different stuff than it might otherwise be inclined to do.

Anyway, the point is that I've been thinking about building a web app and visualization system for taking readings, visualizing data; and possibly making it multi-user, so people could register accounts and use it for their own data, with the idea that the more data, the more better. I'm a software guy (both computer software and biological software) so my thinking tends to be restricted to those domains, but there's a slew of cool stuff you could make with more sophisticated electronics skillz than I possess.

So -- is anybody else interested in this topic? Maybe we could come up with a project. Even if not, would be interesting to talk about.


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 Post subject: Re: Self trackers at HF?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:23 pm
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Location: my parents' basement
I'm a huge proponent of cognitive-behavioral therapy and this falls perfectly into that realm.
Are you looking at building a general tracker or one very specific?

Is this potentially one for a business say a therapy center for DBT (Dialectic Behavioral therapy) patients or into the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis)? There is also the chemdep channel as well. The ability to track behavior in real time would be pretty amazing or at very least be able to pull up client data before an appointment would be excellent. Plus this could reduce the need for paper tracking which patients suck at in the mental health field. This would be nice to be able to have an app that auto syncs to a secure web application. Therapists can view all clients in one glance. Clients would also be able to access their tracker on a computer if they do not have a smart phone.

I know there are a lot of trackers on the market for productivity, goal setting, etc. Is there an area that hasn't been addressed that you feel should be?

I have no technological knowledge what so ever in this area so I cant really help you. I do have an interest in the topic itself. I'm a big supporter of dbt and my kids are both in aba for autism therapy. Soooo much tracking is needed for this field and most of the time it has to be following the child around with a clipboard and counter. An inexpensive sleek handheld device could be an awesome option. You could sell the tracking software and devices to a center and be able to track all the data on the web. This also be very beneficial to parents to watch their child's progress. It could also move into reporting for insurance purposes as well. So many possibilities.

Sorry to veer off on a tangent!


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 Post subject: Re: Self trackers at HF?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 10
The mental health domains you mentioned are natural fits; better suited than CBT (the only of the several you mentioned that I have any familiarity with) is 'plain' behavioral therapy (which is often an adjunct to CBT). For instance, a therapist might say: you need to do new things more often, and get more social contact. The dumbest tool for self-tracking of this stuff would be web software where it was very quick to enter in the new things that you tried (going rock climbing) and how many people you talked to that day, or how much time you spent socializing, or whatever; and then tracked some variables of interest: mood, energy level, etc, which could be crunched on later ("I'm 25% happier when I go somewhere new every day and spend an hour talking to people.")

A better thing would be an iPhone app that could figure some of this out on its own -- use GPS to find out when you go to new places (theoretically easy); detect proximity to other people and tell when you're socializing (theoretically hard). Lots of cool possibilities here; would be fun to build, and useful.

One of the things I've tracked in a pretty dumb way (entering numbers into a spreadsheet) is a host of physical factors along with meals and blood glucose. I found out that mood varied inversely with glucose spikes/troughs (that was no surprise) but also how much ambient pain level varied with carb intake, esp. grains. Unfortunately it was a pretty intrusive kind of measurement and I didn't persist for very long, but even that long was pretty cool.


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