In a snowy café-restaurant Polder at Science Park Amsterdam patients, researchers, policy-makers, IT specialists and care providers came together. The common denominator: scaling up self tracked health data for the common good. Gary Wolf, inventor of the term Quantified Self, was present as well.
The active Quatified Self community consist of about 10.000 people. A 'small fire' Gary calls it. Each member has their own reason for tracking themselves. Most of the stories are about people learning from their own health data and managing their own illness. People with similar conditions share their experiences in an attempt to better understand and improve their situation. But how could the insights of a single person, be translated to meaningful insight for the larger group? Wat is the relationship between self-tracking and the common good? These questions were central to the workshop 'Sharing self tracked health data for the common good', during the national eHealth week 2019.
Martijn de Groot, co-founder of the Quantified Self Institute in the Netherlands, explains what the Quantified Self community is about: What did you do? How did you do it? And what did you learn from it? Sharing the insights and the method of collecting data is what makes the difference. Quantified Self is often strongly related to wearable tech, like fitbits and smartwatches. However, collecting data can be done in a low-tech way as well: by standing on a scale and writing down the changes over time for example. The real 'self-trackers' share those findings and how they got them.
Outside of self-tracking an increasing amount of people look to the internet for information about health issues. Of all the EU countries, the Netherlands is leading in 'most searches for health related topics'. On the one hand it is positive that people are actively informing themselves about health issues. However, it can also lead to scepsis towards medical professionals. People can feel like they are not being taken serious if the conclusion of a doctor differs from their own findings.