The rapid uptake of personal fitness trackers such as the Microsoft Band, the various Fitbit devices and even simple pedometers indicates that many people are quite interested in using technology to improve their health. Equally, the huge number of apps to help people track and log things like diet, exercise and sleep, even if they don’t wear a tracker, shows that there is an enormous market for consumer health and fitness tech.
The professional healthcare industry is making huge advances in terms of the tech it uses, for instance Medipro EMR systems. The new found capabilities we are already adopting to take better care of ourselves at home could mean we are set for a noticeable improvement in overall health as this kind of technology progresses.
Fitness trackers are used by people from all walks of life, from sedentary office workers who know they should raise their level of activity to clinically obese people who are on a mission to lose weight for their health, and from people who do some casual light exercise for fun through to serious athletes. Many people who use the devices find them really useful, however what is more interesting is the potential these devices are paving the way for.
Before trackers became popular, many people had no idea what their own resting heart rate was or even what the healthy range is, and had to rely on guesswork to understand their own needs in terms of food consumption. In future, as tracker technology gets more reliable, it could be possible for wearable tech to even more accurately monitor heartrate, blood pressure and other metrics to help people with many different conditions take better care of themselves.
Most personal health and fitness technology is designed to be worn or carried, and to wirelessly sync with the owner’s phone, tablet or computer. From there, it can update records on a cloud based personal log. This is great because it means much more functionality and analysis can be done using the data the tracker captures. In future, wearable health technology could be made to synch with software held by healthcare providers. That would give doctors and other professionals access to very detailed data about an individual patient. This holds huge potential for enabling more accurate diagnoses, and for patients and doctors working together to manage long term conditions.
Very soon, wearable technology that tracks health measurements could do something much more interesting and useful. It could alert the wearer or their healthcare provider when certain thresholds or conditions are met. This could make managing conditions like heart diseases and diabetes which need constant monitoring far easier. It could even allow emergencies services to be contacted automatically when something like a cardiac arrest occurs. The kind of consumer monitors currently used in fitness bands have not been designed or tested for these kinds of purposes yet, but hint at what could soon become the norm.
Future Personal Health Technology
It will be interesting to see how our relationship with personal health technology develops in the future, and the impact this has on the concept of healthcare.