We think it is essential to give the reigns to the patient in order to achieve innovative and better healthcare. Self-management does not mean the patient is all on his/her own however. The online Emma Community ensures that the buddy/caretaker is alerted when things do not seem to be going well. The health professional is also kept up to date to ensure they can take action when needed.
A large part of chronically ill patients is motivated to change their lifestyle in order to become more healthy or in order to at least delay the decline of their health. The first step in self-management according to the Emma principle is to give the patient the right tools to gain a better insight into his or her "own health". This can be through an app on the smartphone, through a smartwatch with a step counter or through a smart scale/blood pressure monitor that gives easy feedback to the patient. A physiotherapist, dietician or general practitioner sets clear goals together with the patient, after which the patient will start to work on his/her own health with the help of the aforementioned devices. Next to that the patient decides to who share their collected data with in a support community.
When the patient is not doing as well as before, a sighal is sent to the buddy/caretaker. This is often a partner or family member that the patient has asked to help him/her to reach the set goals. Support of the buddy can be almost anything: a simple reminder to take the medication, a supportive talk, taking a walk together with the patient in order to reach a step goal or cooking healthier in order to help the patient lose weight. The buddy makes sure the patient does not stand alone during the moments where things are difficult and helps to solve problems that the patient might have otherwise visited the health professional for.
Only when it takes a longer time for the patient not to feel better, the health professional will be informed. For example, this can be when the medication adherence drops below a certain percentage, when the patient is not losing any weight or when a step goal is consistently not reached. It is often the case that there is a structural underlying problem that cannot be solved by the caretaker/buddy alone. The health professional looks at the collected data in the cloud and determines whether or not to send a message or that it is necessary to make an appointment with the patient. During the appointment with the patient they can look at the available data together and discuss what will be necessary in order to bring about positive change.