We started the day by asking everyone to describe what their trusted sources are for information and advice about their health. We got quite a lot of responses both on Facebook and in person, and on the wall of our project space. Not surprisingly the range included things like family, friends, Google, web sources, and doctors. A little more surprisingly, though, there were several threads that were about people being afraid that their own ability to judge for themselves would be hampered by knowing information from an officially sanctioned source. Interesting.

As the conversations continued to unfold during the day, the topic of trust surfaced again and again. It seems like trust, in the case of our own health, needs to be two-way. People seeking advice and information about health need to trust their sources. And “the system” (healthcare providers, wellness coaches, all our sources) needs to trust individuals in return.

It was also clear that different cultures have very different expectations and relationships to their health. Some cultures tend to be implicitly trusting of healthcare professionals, and don’t question much. Some are very reluctant to resort to drugs or other treatments without first thinking about the other lifestyle choices that can be made. And still others, like ours, tend to be drug- and treatment-oriented. Our culture also has a lot of choices with regards to our health, and there seems to be a theme about how the logical and emotional sides of health don’t tend to mix up very well. We definitely need access to both sides in order to make the best decisions.

The diagram above has two important loops. The first loop (on the right) describes a two-way trusting relationship between information seekers and providers. The second shows an ideal process for what an individual is able to do when they are well-informed about their health. An individual should be able to see the information in ways that make sense to them, feel how it is relevant to themselves, and then be able to take action.

For Wednesday at TEDActive, we want to engage everyone (here at ACTIVE and folks at home) to take these concepts, build upon them, and ultimately define tangible actions to make them real.