Know Thy Self – Measuring Your Quality of Life

Posted June 17th, 2010 by

Last Fall, PatientsLikeMe introduced our Quality of Life (QoL) tool which is displayed on the profiles of members in the HIV community.  By answering a few questions, patients can see how HIV is impacting them – physically, socially and mentally.  Today, this same QoL measure is used by thousands of patients across the HIV community and other communities, such as Epilepsy and Organ Transplants.

PatientsLikeMe Research Scientist, Michael Massagli, recently spoke with us in a PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast interview about the goal, outcomes and benefits to measuring your quality of life. Listen here:

“[In the HIV community], we’ve taken a look at the relationship between QoL and CD4 level and find the average score of patients with CD4 below 200 is significantly lower for physical, mental and social well-being.  People with the most comprised immune systems have worse quality of life, across all 3 domains, than other patients… “

To date, several of our members have at least three QoL scores on their profile.  Mike says, “Multiple uses of the QoL instrument by the same person over time helps researchers determine how small a change in QoL scores is meaningful to patients or important enough to evaluate how a treatment is working.”

Adds R&D Director, Paul Wicks, “We all know that measuring disease is important; tumor size in cancer, blood tests in cardiovascular disease, or frequency of seizures in epilepsy, for instance. Increasingly though, clinicians and researchers are coming to realize that these measures don’t give the whole story; they’re missing the real impact of a condition on patient’s ability to function. You might have high blood pressure but it doesn’t affect your life at all, or you might have a relatively low amount of pain (as measured by, say a 0-10 pain scale), but it could be interfering with your work life a great deal.”

So have you completed a quality of life survey recently?  If so, you’ll also notice a cool new feature on the site that helps you better understand how your quality of life compares to others.  When you take 5 minutes to answer the 24 questions in the survey, here’s what you’ll see:

screen-shot-2010-06-16-at-105445-am

As Mike says in his podcast, this is just the beginning.  Stay tuned for more about quality of life measurements.


2 Comments

  1. […] your perceptions about the medications you take?  How do you see these treatments impacting your quality of life?  Getting quantifiable data on such questions can help our partners understand how they can help […]

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