The Grand Awakening

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Realize you’re not alone and regain control of your health – Community Focus

“People are starting to think differently about their health, their environment and the ageing process.”

When Murray Smith was a child in the 1950s, his experience with the healthcare system included his mother pinning a $5 bill to his shirt and sending him off to the doctor for a check up. Fast forward to 2020 and things look a little different — in both the healthcare system and Murray’s health, particularly with his bones and joints.

After growing up very active in sports — hockey, lacrosse, squash — Murray developed joint problems in both knees; a condition that would worsen overtime and impact his quality of life. Not easy news for this proud Albertan. “I have always enjoyed engaging with my community, so pulling back from the things I love wasn’t in the playbook,” he said. He was determined that his condition would improve so he could continue to live his life and give back.

Connecting with MAP to MOTION

It was over the course of his research and treatment that Murray got connected with the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute (ABJHI) and heard of the innovative, cutting-edge MAP to MOTION initiative.

MAP to MOTION, he learned, will be the central hub to capture bone and joint healthcare data provided by medical professionals from across Alberta. The data will be gathered, analyzed and used to help develop more personalized treatment plans for the overall wellbeing of patients so they can live their fullest lives. At this, Murray got excited. “Finally,” he recalls, “a trusted data repository where I could find myself among other, anonymous patients and develop my own action plan to get back to motion.”

He was so excited about MAP to MOTION that when ABJHI sought members to join a Governance Committee to oversee the initiative, Murray didn’t hesitate to sign up. Now, as the chair of the committee, he joins fellow patients, researchers, physiotherapists, physicians, a chiropractor, a representative from the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network, and ABJHI in moving MAP to MOTION forward.

He and the committee believe the project will be an important part of a ‘grand awakening’ for patients and their health. “An educated population is always a healthier population. MAP to MOTION is an opportunity to use data in an innovative, new way, and for patients to learn that they are not alone in their condition. By mapping themselves in the database, they will learn that it is possible to regain control of their health.”

The Right Architecture at the Right Time

Murray considers MAP to MOTION as the foundational architecture  — a first of its kind — that will help patients realize where they stand now, determine the solutions that will work for them and map out where they can get to.

It can make a profound difference in the lives of individuals and our community in many ways, including:

  • Preventing future conditions: When a patient’s bones and joints are suffering, they are more prone to other diseases. Understanding where they stand in the data is a key preventative tool.
  • Maximizing time: By capturing and analyzing the data, patients and healthcare providers can use the results as a form of early-triaging, thereby optimizing their treatment time.
  • Linking patients together:  By helping patients understand they are not unique in their condition and mapping out where they stand with others, they will feel less alone.
  • Building trust: Patients and healthcare providers can trust that the data repository and data acquisition is transparent, secure and private.
  • Forming partnerships: The initiative is a unique opportunity for the private and public sectors to work in concert and improve the overall health of Albertans.

The Future is Now

Aside from working with the committee, Murray eventually sought specialized support and his long-term treatment resulted in arthroscopy surgery in both knees. He also shed some weight and is now on a path to regaining quality of life. “What began as a journey of self-interest and self-healing has morphed into a human story about prevention, connection and community,” he said. “I’m excited for the potential of this tool to be part of a paradigm shift in healthcare and quality of life for Albertans.”

Listen to Murray’s story:

MAP to MOTION

There is a significant information gap about bone and joint health in Alberta; MAP to MOTION is our chance to fill this gap. With support from our partners, MAP to MOTION will link information from all the different bone and joint services that Albertan patients need, acting as a central hub of data for bone and joint knowledge. By capturing and analyzing the data, healthcare providers can develop more personalized, more effective treatment plans that support the overall wellbeing of patients like Murray.

The first of its kind in the world, MAP to MOTION partners with researchers to provide clear and comprehensive information to healthcare providers as they work to create innovative solutions to improve bone and joint patient care.