Digital Humans – Cardiac Health Coach

We live in a world
Where cardiovascular disease
Of the heart and arteries
Is our countries greatest killer

An important story about cardiovascular disease – our nations greatest killer, health illiteracy and approaches to achieve equity for disadvantaged communities using digital humans. 

I really enjoyed creating this video and collaborating with Marie Johnson on the concept. It was quite a complex topic and there was a lot to say and it was a challenge to fit it all in without loosing some of the key messages.

The poem originally had a couple of stanza’s that talked about a person who had heart disease but I had to take it out as the video was getting too long.

I can’t help but catch myself
grimace at this stranger’s reflection
My eyes cannot pull away
Drawn to the violent scar still tender
That runs riot down my chest
eight weeks
Since my life changed so dramatically
Yet By some miracle
A fortuitous twist of fate
I’m still here
Staring at my reflection.
 
I open the cabinet door
Greeted with an endless stream
Of indistinguishable pillboxes
I feel my chest constrain
A shortness of breath
Panic and anxiety
When realisation of my tenuous existence
Dawns on me again.
 
My eyes fix on indecipherable terms
As I reach for half remembered medicines
Vague recollections from doctors
During  hurried talks
Time for My daily lottery draw
Have I chosen them correctly?
I simply do not know.
 
I grab my phone
And point in my pills general direction
Which is my blood pressure one?
My cardiac coach – it responds.
 
We live in a world
Where cardiovascular disease 
Of the heart and arteries
Is our countries greatest killer
A disease affecting countless millions
And costing our nation billions
With numbers that inexorably rise
With this WHO declared pandemic.
 
An unfair disease
Targeting our most vulnerable
People of disability or different ethnicities
Remain invisible.
Women not taken seriously
Are half as likely
To receive much needed treatment
With death rates double
Of what would be parity.
 
Time poor clinicians
Fail to communicate
To traumatised patients
Full of fear, frustration, and anxiety
The severity of
Their complex interventions
As health illiteracy
The public’s average reading age
Makes their scientific terms
Incomprehensible.
 
An eight-minute sprint
To explain all that is needed
In your new regime
Cannot be processed
But patient discharge
Is the name of the game
And the clock
Is ticking.
 
But what of the consequences?
We see staggeringly high
Deaths and readmission rates
That remain the leading cause
Of medical litigation.
 
And now Covid19
Mercilessly has had its own impact
With chronic patients
Left to fend for themselves
Or too afraid
To get desperately needed aid.
As pandemics join forces
Setting us on
A far more hopeless trajectory.
 
How do we help people
Who do not understand the basics?
Who feel they’re asking stupid questions?
That we give them
The time and the space they need
To be there when there is indecision?
 
How do we help people
Not fall of a cliff
When discharged
To learn new skills and behaviours
To manage their health, their medication?
To live healthy lives?
To have the patience of a saint
Build trust and rapport
And change the rules of the game.
 
Imagine a world
Where you had your own personal coach
One that understood the heath domain
That spoke like you
That understood
Your cultures intricacies
And could answer common questions
That tirelessly dealt with repetition
To help you make more informed decisions.
 
Your digital coach
Focused on cardiovascular disease
Backed by a corpus of knowledge
Machine learning trained with 10’s of 1000’s of questions
Co-designed with the lived experience
That spoke to you
And I
Like a human.
 
Imagine a world
That overcame these barriers
Where through prevention and understanding
We reduce death rates and destruction
Where we help people not just survive…
But live and thrive.
 
Imagine a world
Where the cardiac coach
Is but the first of many
Where we build open source ecosystems
And new industries
That champion holistic wellbeing.
 
Imagine a cardiac coach
That helps those
Facing their own mortality.
Help alleviates
Their sense of fear and abandonment
That gives back some control
Some independence and dignity
And helps them face
Head on
Their own personal adversity.

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