My Health Explained
When I first came across My Health Explained it was with some scepticism that I decided to review it. My initial reaction to such online help programmes is ‘Oh no! not another one!’ – but I have to say that this support and educational package for people with diabetes has proved to be the exception to the misrule.
Written by a consultant Diabetologist, My Health Explained is far more than just another package of dry information about diabetes, listed in a cold and impersonal way. Rather, it is a personalised online video-based diabetes education program for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes, that explains exactly what diabetes is, and why that matters.
The 12 week course proceeds at leisurely pace, slow and steady, with no sudden shocks. All through the course I had the distinct impression that Dr. Sultan Linjawi was talking just to me.
As well as being of obvious relevance to patients, this educational / management package will be of interest to busy clinicians who will be able to refer patients to a trusted resource that can be relied upon to cover all aspects of diabetes care in a way that will minimise recurring and genuine questions in the clinic; and it does so in a way that will reduce patient anxiety.
Throughout, it is both interesting, and reassuringly straightforward in explaining the various components of diabetes. Each one followed by a brief revision and consolidation at the end of each of the sections.
In particular there is a very welcome summary of oral medication presented in a way that enables rapid assimilation; sensible discussion of exercise that enables rather than deters patient participation in their care; the explanations of complications provides just enough detail to reinforce the need for positive actions to achieve optimal outcomes, without causing undue anxiety; and diet – that confounding, conflating, hornets’ nest of taboos, phobias, and mountebank panaceas – is treated to a menu of common sense and rational thought, that produce an understanding of the simple, basic concepts, to ensure, at long last, a relaxed approach to diet as just one more aspect of self-care in diabetes.
Throughout, emphasis is always on the positive management of diabetes.
The navigation is comfortable, and the high quality videos are a pleasure to watch. Explanatory metaphors and analogies are skilfully used to illuminate what can often be obtuse concepts if handled ineptly. Take risk for example; every one of Dr Linjawi’s explanations are so well presented that miscomprehension is eliminated: Blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol etc., are explained with reference to the interrelated risks.
The course is interactive, recording regular input of physical / medical / psychological parameters; and when clinically significant the course will direct the patient to pertinent videos. When these pathways are triggered by the built-in algorithms, they are do so in an hierarchical way that present the most important videos first.
Progressing through the chapters, I found myself looking forward to the gentle voice of Dr Linjawi answering all the questions one might have about diabetes, and, crucially, answering them in in a way that does not leave the patient, or their carers, feeling that they are intruding on a busy clinician’s time.
At the very end of the course, in the final week, the recap of the entire course is very reassuring. One realises that you now know everything that a diabetes consultant thinks that you should know, and that you also understand that the information is a very empowering tool for encouraging involvement in the patient / medical team collaborative approach to managing diabetes.
For my take away points, I will return to an earlier paragraph, that says …
… as well as being of obvious relevance to patients, the My Health Explained educational package will be of interest to busy clinicians who will be able to refer patients to a trusted resource that can be relied upon to cover all aspects of diabetes care in a way that will minimise recurring questions in the clinic.