As a true millennial, I have attempted to tackle this simulation with my iPhone in hand.I have been using the app MyFitnessPal to keep track of my sodium intake. It auto-populates nutritional information by taking a photo of the food’s barcode. I have been using another app called MediSafe to track and remind me of my medicines. My goal was to shift as much of the responsibility from my head to my phone, to make this experience as passive as possible.
What happened when I cooked a meal for myself instead of eating a prepackaged meal? What happened when the MediSafe didn’t have the correct shape of the pill I was taking, forcing me to use an inaccurate graphic reminder? What happened when I was in back-to-back meetings and didn’t see my alarm until two hours after it went off? What happened when MyFitnessPal didn’t work for a day because my phone software wasn’t up to date? What happened when I incorrectly input the time of one of my medications andupon fixing it, the app deleted that medication from my regimen for two days? What happened when my phone died for a few hours?
All of these blips (and many others that I did not mention) made it so that I have been far less than 100% compliant to my medication and dietary regimen. Because I have been concerned about the human, software, and technological errors that undoubtedly occur, this method of managing my “disease” has been inherently active, and I have only about a 80% track record of compliance (taking meds on time, taking the correct ones, taking them at all, sticking to the liquid restrictions, sticking to the sodium restrictions, etc.) to show for my efforts. I am reminded of this regimen every time I take medications (four times a day), every time I eat (at least five times a day), when I leave in the morning, when I work out, when I repack my meds for the week...the list continues. For actual heart failure patients, medication and dietary management fall secondary to treating debilitating aspects of the disease, such as the shortness of breath after walking down the hall or the fear of being rehospitalized for the fifth time in six months.
This simulation has given us a slight glimpse into the challenges of managing a chronic disease. One clinician we met wisely reminded us that the average patient is only in the doctor’s office for few hours a year, leaving a mere 8,755 hours of self-management to go...