Self-Tracking Cultures and the Emergence of Hybrid Beings?

AI
photo credit: Arman Zhenikeyev/Shutterstock

Abstract for debate 10th of December 2015

Can Self-Tracking be a bigger promise in healthcare?

As Self-tracking devices get more and more in the mainstream, we see different usage, motivation and engagement.  The literature that arises form different domains, looks at different perspectives towards the domain of self-tracking. In this debate we would like to talk about the design perspective of wearable devices or ‘things’ and look at it from a sociological perspective.

In recent literature we learn that these self-tracking tools and devices have a limited usage. People tend to use these devices for a very short time. In (Fogg, 2010) terms we could map these users as span behavior types, with different purposes or aims. Users are excited and curious for the data, set certain goals if possible within the environment that they use, but after two weeks, a month some literature talks about a 6 month (Shih, 2015) maximum before users drop out.

Question arise if Personal Informatics can have more meaning in a healthcare environment. And how can we then create more engagement within this environment.  From a design perspective this is rather challenging. In order to come to an engagement design approach, we also need to look at the wellbeing and happiness that could bring these devices. What does it mean for a patient to see all the objective facts of their life,  (Ancker JS1, 2015) came to four major themes in interviewing patients and care givers: ‘ (1) tracking this data feels like work for many patients, (2) personal medical data for individuals with chronic conditions are not simply objective facts, but instead provoke strong positive and negative emotions, value judgments, and diverse interpretations, (3) patients track for different purposes, ranging from sense-making to self-management to reporting to the doctor, and (4) patients often notice that physicians trust technologically measured data such as lab reports over patients’ self-tracked data’.

In a broader perspective we need to ask how society will go about in this matter from an ethic and privacy perspective. If we want to create more engagement with these devices, the user needs to trust this environment. Trust not only in accurateness of the data, but also in who owns the data and what happens with the data.

(Lupton D. , 2014) speaks of 5 modes of self-tracking private, communal, pushed, imposed and exploited.  These modes can intersect or overlap with each other. In our research we limit ourselves to private self-tracking, pushed self-tracking and to a certain extend communal self-tracking.

(Lupton D. , 2014), defines these modes as follows:

Private self-tracking, as espoused in the Quantified Self’s goal of ‘self knowledge through numbers’, is undertaken for purely personal reasons and the data are kept private or shared only with limited and selected others.

Pushed self-tracking departs from the private self-tracking mode in that the initial incentive for engaging in self-tracking comes from another actor or agency. Self-monitoring may be taken up voluntarily, but in response to external encouragement or advocating rather than as a wholly self-generated and private initiative.

Communal Self-tracking, while self-tracking, in its very name and focus on the ‘self’ may appear to be an individualistic practice, many self-trackers view themselves as part of a community of trackers (Boesel, 2013a; Lupton, 2013a; Nafus & Sherman, 2014; Rooksby, et al., 2014). They use social media, platforms designed for comparing and sharing personal data and sites such as the Quantified Self website to engage with and learn from other self-trackers.

Considering these 3 modes we would like to look deeper into the possibilities of creating more engagement through the more ‘leisure’ wearable devices that are used in conjunction with the ‘medical’ self-tracking devices chronic patients already use. This will give a more holistic view on the behaviour and lifestyle of the patient, create more context to the data and therefor could be analysed to enable a happiness and wellbeing state for the patient.

By learning about attitudes and behaviour of patients we can empathize more and come to a more engaged relationship between patient and care provider. Help the patient in his or her lifestyle improvement or life comfort.

 

Works Cited

Ancker JS1, W. H. (2015, Aug 19). You Get Reminded You’re a Sick Person”: Personal Data Tracking and Patients With Multiple Chronic Conditions. J Med Internet Res.

Boesel, W. E. (2013). Retrieved from Cyberology: http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2013/05/22/what-is-the-quantified-self-now/#more-15719

Fogg, B. &. (2010). Behavior Wizard: A Method for Matching Target Behaviors with Solutions. Stanford University.

Lupton, D. (2014). Self-tracking Modes: Reflexive Self-Monitoring and Data Practices. Imminent Citizenships: Personhood and Identity Politics in the Informatic Age’ workshop.

Lupton, D. (2013a). Understanding the human machine. IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, 32(4), 25-30 .

Nafus, D. &. (2014). This one does not go up to 11: the Quantified Self movement as an alternative big data practice. International Journal of Communication, 8, 1785-1794.

Rooksby, J. R. (2014). Personal tracking as lived informatics. Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems, Toronto.

Shih, P. H. (2015). Use and Adoption Challenges of Wearable Activity Trackers. iConference 2015 Proceedings.

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‘Wordt gevolgd’ Canvas Panorama

In June 2015 I collaborated on a reportage for VRT-Canvas Panorama ‘Wordt gevolgd’.  An interesting introduction on Quantified Self its advantages and desadvantages. On privacy and ethics and more. Different professionals have participated in this, it gives a broad view on the different aspects. Made by Hilde De Windt and Peter Brems.

Canvas Panorama

Screenshot

 

 

PhD followup after Master

I finally find a professor this year who will guide me towards a PhD  All excited about this to be able to continue my work, and get more in depth on my topic, Design for Behavior Change. Will be working together with ‘User Centred Engineering Group’ at Eindhoven University of Technology. Most likely working on advanced sleeping systems. More later when this gets more concrete after the holidays.

Healthy food for people in need!

Just finished a Mooc on Human Centerd Design – IDEO method. A great experience, interesting how we did our journey and came to some interesting conclusion. I’m a very technology oriented person, but lately returning to the human perpsective. It is quite refreshing and rewarding. Enjoy our journey and amazing results!

Engagement with wearables or mobile app?

Recently there has been some movement in the market of wearable devices. While this market had a fast growth, today there are some players who switch gears. Nike Fuel armband most probably will be discontinued over the next months. LarkLife was discontinued after a few months of its existence. Fitbit Force had a recall in the marktet because of rash induction. Rumors say that activity trackers will be more and more implemented in the smartphones. As wearable activity trackers are hard, usually they don’t have a screen where you can see your results immediately, there is always the synchronisation that has to take place. And apart from that, practise shows that after a 6 month period or earlier, the tracking devices are going into a drawer somewhere unused. I have some in mine as well.

I still use Runkeeper for my physical activity and BodyMedia for my sleep and activity tracking. Even though my data is more or less the same all the time, I just like to have that data now, it is an extra confirmation. Using Runkeeper as an extra app on the  iPhone is mainly because of the data has a different presentation and there is also the availability of music that motivates me to run and do Tai Chi during my excercise. In addition I use Lift to keep track of my frequency on the excersise habit.  I like Lift as a frequency tracker to see the difference in seasons and time availability. Something I need to pay attention to. So I tend towards mobile apps as well, although mobile apps can’t solve everything. In different areas we will still need wearables too, but maybe in different ways.

Engagement?

All in all if I reflect on my change in lifestyle I started in October 2012, the technology use was one aspect and made me curious on my results, but more importantly it is that 30 minutes in nature, in the calm, that makes me feel my day starts differently and I feel more happy during that day, that makes me continue doing this.  The feel good aspects about doing the activity is the major trigger in continuing this! Technology is just a small aspect in the whole picture, to make it more complete.

I found the perfect spot to practise the activity, it is easy and accessible. And it fits in my planning (time availability) or I make it fit in my planning 🙂 .

Lift

Lift overview 2012_2014