Posts Tagged ‘Second Brain’

Yes, Medicare and Insurance Companies, Computers are Cognitive Prosthetics

My trusty external brain, er, MacBookPro, as photographed by my iPhone, neither of which are considered medical equipment.

I use computers as my external brain. I often pay for them out of my family budget, despite having pretty decent health care coverage via Medicare. Recently, the Diocese of Colorado Springs generously covered the cost of my new laptop.

Many people with brain injury are not as fortunate as I am. Technology that is easy to use, intuitive, and helps overcome cognitive deficits isn’t the $299 computer at the nearest geek store. At least from my experience, technology that actually makes life easier rather than requiring me to manage it means buying Apple. Yup. I’m an Apple fan. Quite simply I can do more on my Apple after brain injury than I ever could on my PC before brain injury. They’re that intuitive.

How do I use computers to overcome my cognitive disabilities?
Memory. I test in the low single digits for short term memory. I keep notes and they are searchable and sync automatically between my computer and my iPhone. (Thank you, Evernote!). Photos of my family and important events are my memory. Having a camera and video recorder in my pocket is a huge asset to memory, and having those things be searchable on my computer makes them easy to access.
Thinking. I easily lose my train of thought, from external noise or other stimulation, or simply from two of my own thoughts colliding together. Rapidly capturing ideas via note form, graphics, photos, audio, and video increases the chances I get the thoughts down before I lose them.
Link to the World. I can’t be in crowds or even out in public without paying a heavy price in brain energy. Thanks to the internet, I can connect with the world and thousands of people in it — offering mutual support for our journeys.

By now, most people reading this are likely thinking — “That makes sense. Of course computers are cognitive prosthetics.”

Not insurance companies and Medicare. “Computers and smart phones do not qualify as Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and therefore cannot be covered.” As several different Medicare and private insurance personal explained to me, “Computers and smart phones are common everyday things. We don’t cover those.”

Hmmm. List of common everyday things that are (rightly) covered:

  • - sticks for blind people
  • - wheels, a chair, and sometimes even a motor, combined to aid mobility. Hoveround, anyone?
  • - oxygen for well, all kinds of folks. Don’t we all use that? Several times a day?
  • - other things we can all think of

Here is some cutting edge research out of New Zealand on mobile computers as cognitive prosthesis.


Thank you, Evernote!

Evernote is one my my cornerstone strategies and technologies for compensating with my lack of memory. Here is a profile they did on me, along with the announcement of their generious donation of 50 premium memberships. Thank you, Evernote!

Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress