Term: Observations of Daily Living (ODL)

An ODL is a collection of health information that is used inside a personal health record (PHR). This includes data on a person's sleep habits, diet, exercise, mood, mental stability and how closely he or she follows the medication regiment. This information is patient-generated. It's important to individuals and not necessarily collected in a clinical setting. Patients now have a tool to closely monitor and improve health in their daily lives and will have a greater ability to communicate with clinicians because of increased health literacy, as well as doctors will be able to understand behaviors in patients to better assist them.

  • Individual patients can look at their own health patterns over periods of time. Data can be measured quantitatively (reporting measures on how long the patient slept and how much they moved during the night) and qualitatively (a patient reporting his or her own mood). Visual graphs can help patients access how well they're adjusting to a more healthy lifestyle
  • They can then make adjustments to their daily habits to improve their health. Examples include looking at how the consumption of certain foods affect their sleep cycle and then changing their diet and eating times to improve their sleep.
  • Another advantage of using ODLs is that patients can compare their health records with those who have similar health conditions. Patients can share information on symptoms and treatments with other patients with a similar disease and can compare their daily habits.
  • On a macroscopic level, clinicians in turn can detect disease outbreaks and epidemics even faster on a population level.
  • Catching early signs of disorders, sicknesses, or even medication misuse in infants and elderly to help them ahead longer in life and have their care better managed.

Web Resources:

Related Terminology:
Project Health Design
Personal Health Record (PHR)

1. http://www.scribd.com/doc/14427729/Observations-of-Daily-Living-primer-from-Robert-Wood-Johnson-Foundation
2. http://www.holisticonline.com/remedies/sleep/sleep_ins_food-and-diet.htm

3. http://www.projecthealthdesign.org/resources/observations-of-daily-living
4. http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/08/17/tracking-observations-of-daily-living-in-infants-and-the-elderly/