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.