Lifelogging, art and empathy: Three films from FastForward Health

Lifelogging, art and empathy: Three films from FastForward Health

On October 22, 2013 Luminary Labs sponsored the latest Fast ForwardHealth Film screening.

What do skinny jeans, life logging, art, and empathy have in common? All were topics of discussion after a lively networking session over Banh Mi and beer at the New Work City space.

FastForward Health’s goal is to inspire through arts and storytelling, to build community and create the tribe of innovators and health, and to take action.

The films screened – most of which you can view online for free or near free:

73 Cents (rent for $1.99)

During a critical conversation led by Sara Holoubek of Luminary Labs, Robert Fabricant, the Vice President of Creative at frog design, and the highly engaged participants.

Empathy has gone viral. One participant mentioned that she had seen the film screened in India the week prior. While the short film’s structure succeeds as a tear jerker, participants in FastForward Health had mixed reactions when learning that the film was a Cleveland Clinic production. The film is a day-in-the-life of the clinic, with thought bubbles showing the worries, hopes, and concerns of patients, doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, and shows the intense drama of the lives of everyone visiting and working in the clinic. Yet the film depicts a sterile environment and also further perpetuates the image of hospital as a clinical, detached experience. The key question posed: how do we genuinely enhance our capacity for empathy, and how will that change the experience of patients inside and outside of clinical settings.

LifeLoggers was the most thought-provoking, an uncritical and even celebratory look at the quantified self movement, tracking both analog and digital life loggers in the pursuit to document the dawn of this movement. The film was created by Memeto, now Narrative, a square lifelogging camera that can document every 30 seconds of every day of your life, and naturally celebrates those that track everything that they can. Most agreed that the film only succeeded at providing evidence to the critics of quantified self – behavior that only appeals to the highly engaged, self-centered human. Quantified selfers in attendance at FastFoward Health dissented, but acknowledge the huge gap moving from their early adopter behavior to the population that is harder to motivate.

What is the path forward? Find triggers and anchors that humans respond to, that become part of the habitual experience of their daily life. For Robert Fabricant, one of his first LifeLogging projects happened over 10 years ago, when he designed the StressEraser, a client of frog design. The goal of the device was to teach people how to take a moment, breath deeply, get feedback, and improve their stress levels. While the team talked to and observed people’s health habits for multiple points of inspiration to guide the design process, the strongest example was the most unhealthful: smoking. When a smoker takes a break, and heads down to take a break, they are often seeking the same stress release. The higher bar to aim for: how can we design LifeLogging experiences that have the same habit-forming effects, but without an addictive drug.


Skinny jeans were also cited as a better goal and outcome than any of the quantified self metrics, for women and men.

@sarita: RT @HealthcareWen: #FFHnyc shoutout to @SusannahFox! Practical #QS for #women = do I fit into my skinny jeans? via @BobBarnett at…

@HealthcareWen @BobBarnett Lots of men tell me they have skinny jeans, too! Background:


Finally, 73 Cents was the crowd favorite. The short film documents Regina Holliday’s advocacy efforts for patients to get hold of their data, and speaks directly to the FastForward Health crowd of digital innovators. Holliday channeled her frustration over inaccessibility to her late husband’s medical records into her famous wall mural, and has now become one of the leading patient advocates for open and accessible data. A must see for anyone orienting themselves to the health tech field.

@NYEHealth: Watching @ReginaHolliday in the touching ’73 Cents’ at @fastfwdhealth event in NYC. Regina, you’re an inspiration. Everyone should see this.

@HealthcareWen: Do not stop till we see the change we need in healthcare” paraphrasing #health #advocate @ReginaHolliday. @fastfwdhealth @Haddadda #FFHnyc

Luminary Labs wishes to thank change makers David Haddad and Andre Blackman and their FastForward Health film series, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.