When it comes to applying the research EML conducts, I like to be the guinea pig. When recommending anything to others there is little more powerful than saying you’ve done it yourself.
Multiple visits to A&E with elderly relatives highlighted the need to know, and ideally be able to demonstrate, what was ‘normal’. Looking beyond the drama of A&E it is clear that many ailments first show up by a simple change in ‘normal’. Covid shows up via a change in blood oxygen, pregnancy can be detected through a change in body temperature while a range of ailments show up via a change in weight. What I learnt from those visits to A&E is that many people have no idea as to what is ‘normal’ for them.
To address this EML has been experimenting with a range of simple devices – a set of scales, a blood oxygen monitor, a blood pressure monitor and a thermometer. I have been taking readings every couple of weeks for three years and now have a data set to use when designing a display. The question is – what do you want to display. Over time most measures vary within a range so the first thing to establish is that range.
Only when a measure falls outside the range do you need to investigate further.
Being able to tell your doctor what is ‘normal for you’, or better still being able to show them, can speed up the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Best of all, it can get you out of A&E sooner!