All posts tagged ‘s2h replay’

by CalebOctober 20, 2010

Five Mobile Trends Redefining Health

Everywhere Access of Information

Mobile phones are helping people make more informed health-related decisions. Hundreds of mobile websites and apps are providing reference for topics like anatomy, first-aid, and drug-related conditions. Everywhere access to these tools are saving lives. Filmmaker Dan Woolley survived the Haiti earthquake by referencing a first-aid app to treat his wounds. Chicago art instructor Tanya Gill was saved during a stroke using NPR for iPhone. WebMD puts it well, "Better information. Better health."

Mobile is also enabling patients to connect directly with doctors and experts. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that fifty-six percent of US consumers liked the idea of remote healthcare, 41 percent prefer care delivered via mobile device. Today, this is being played out through SMS. For example, some doctors like Brooklyn's Jay Parkinson are making themselves reachable via mobile IM or email. San Francisco-based Truth On Call lets people text questions to a group of physicians. Text in the City helps teens develop a relationship with their clinic through texting.

Affordable Tools for Physicians

Consumer devices are being used as affordable alternatives to industry standards. As of late, Apple's iPad is especially popular. Its weight, Wi-Fi support, and resistance to dust and liquids help it compete with the Panasonic Toughbook H1 and Cisco Cius. Smartphones are also prevalent in the workplace. According to Spyglass Consulting Group, 94 percent of physicians are using everyday smartphones and consulting apps like Epocrates or Johnson and Johnson's BlackBag while on-the-job.

In addition to the standard hardware, add-ons and peripherals extend device capabilities to create a "hand-held hospital". Affordable modifications like Crabfu’s $5 microscope and MIT's $1 plastic lens attachment can turn a phone into a scientific Swiss Army knife. Other tools include iStethoscope, UCLA's mobile microscope, and the AirMicro A1 for iPad. All of these are enabling what's known as "telemedicine" and leading to the decentralization of healthcare. As William J. Mitchell states in City of Bits, telemedicine "make old-style assemblies of patients around specialized medical facilities less necessary."

Quantified Self

Just as people have long used journals, diaries and logs to track their symptoms and behaviors, mobile phones are being used to monitor aspects of  health and well-being. This can help with compliance, creating a sense of control and motivating healthy behavior. It is also a much more efficient way to collect information that can be passed along to doctors. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 88 percent of physicians would like their patients monitoring their health at home.

The phone is not just an on-hand computer we can use to type in data points, it can collect information automatically through its sensors (GPS, microphone, accelerometer, clock) or wearable sensors can send their data to the directly phone. This creates a body area network, or as Frog Design describes it, "Google for our bodies". Some of these wearable sensors include Fitbit, S2H Replay, and BodyMedia, but The Quantified Self lists many more. Once reaching the mobile phone, captured physiological metrics can be sent off into the cloud and then to the physician. It can also be analyzed and sent back to a patient. With increasing computational intelligence and real-time information flow, apps will soon influence decision making on the fly. Both Sleep Cycle and Lark already do this for better sleep, optimizing ourselves and our environment.

Social as Motivational Force

Sticking to a healthcare regime is not easy, which is why there are support groups for nearly every illness. These networks of like-minded people provide a mutual source of motivation. Since at least 1982, support groups have sprung up online in the form of niche social networks, forums and blogs. Sites like 43things let us publicly establish our goals while networks PatientsLikeMe, Disaboom, and Inspire connect us around particular needs.

Mobile phones can keep these groups connected anytime, anywhere. Combine this with their ability to collect data as described above and we see the emergence of a real-time information-rich social experience. Groups can build each other up—or spur on friendly competition—by viewing peers' real-time progress or lapses. We see the beginnings of this in Nike's recent integration with Facebook, where friends can cheer each other on during a run.

Societal Level Health Management and Geo-Medicine

Aggregate personal data will lead to better management of societal level health issues. Insights and solutions will be drawn from open data to make high-level decisions. We're already seeing mobile phones used as early warning systems in disease outbreak detection. Several universities are using SMS to bring disease reporting to rural areas in South Asia. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity around the world.

A smartphone's location awareness makes it even easier to track health trends. Medical data tied to a place, what we can call "geo-medicine," enables us to see even more patterns and correlations. In a TED talk, Bill Davenhall discusses how cross-referencing where he went with a map of toxic release inventories by the EPA, he was able to visualize and draw conclusions on how his location affected his health. The Ushahidi platform is being used to do this on a larger scale, enabling the collect visualize and map health-related information in emerging nations.

by CalebFebruary 24, 2010

M-Health: Smart Band-aids, Telemedicine, and Crowdsourced Physiological Data


During the TEDMED conference last October, leading cardiologist Eric Topol led a talk on how consumer mobile devices are revolutionizing healthcare. He describes the alignment of certain technologies and how they have sparked a "perfect positive storm," one that will change the way we think about our bodies. 4 billion cell phone users, broadband 3G, pervasive connectivity, smartphones, and ingenious sensors are responsible for unlocking this wave of innovation.

Topol talks about shrinking and evermore accurate sensors, those that can be attached to our bodies.  For some of us, products like Nike+Fitbit, and S2H Replay come to mind. These "smart band-aids" are able to talk wirelessly with a gateway, also known as our mobile phone. Once reaching the mobile phone, captured physiological metrics can be sent off into the cloud and then to the physician.  There it can be analyzed and sent back to a patient -- closing the feedback loop.

Physicians are already able to remotely observe a patient's vital signs via mobile screen. Expectant parents have the ability to continuously monitor fetal heart rate and intrauterine contractions. We will be able to track every minute of our sleep, and visually display different states (wake, REM, light, or deep). Sleep Cycle is an extremely rudimentary example of this, already available for the iPhone. Topol even presents a handheld ultrasound. This trend towards tracking every facet of life (the quantified self or personal analytics) is tied to a philosophy Wired defines as Knowing Thyself.

Topol continues to explain how small changes in the healthcare system could not only help patients, but would also save institutions money. A device that can measure the seven vital signs for someone with heart failure could reduce the need for expensive hospital beds. The decentralizing effect that tethered Internet devices (desktop computers) has already had on hospitals could continue with the ability to observe patient vital signs while on-the-go. It could go as far as causing hospital architecture to evolve. In City of Bits, William J. Mitchell describes how telemedicine "makes old-style assemblies of patients around specialized medical facilities less necessary." Therefore, less of a need for the traditional hospital room.

With the help of medical sensors, mobile phones will continue to become a smart extension of our bodies, knowing more about ourselves than we do. With constant connectivity, imagine our personal physiological stats being uploaded to a cloud, along with everyone else's. Viewing our own vital signs is one thing, but the possibilities that come with crowdsourcing mobile physiological stats are huge and could lead to discovery.

Watch Eric Topol's talk here:

by CalebFebruary 22, 2010

S2H Replay: Simple & Affordable Personal Fitness Analytics


Russell Davies points us to the S2H replay, a personal analytics tool that measures activity using a pedometer. Instead of paying $99 for a Fitbit (a popular fitness tracker), the S2H replay is attainable at $19.95.

It is easily customized through an offering of replacement bands; one of them is an exclusive by NBA player Paul Pierce. These are 100% silicone and water resistant.

The S2H provides incentive through rewards (ringtones, gift cards, downloads, etc.) and leader boards.

Complete an hour of activity and it gives you a code you type into the Switch2Health website - no USB, no wifi, no bluetooth, no whispersync - any browser, any computer, a bit of typing and you're done.

By limiting features (no cables, no software, no need to recharge battery), S2H has made its product stupid simple. Emerging technologies often receive hype, but it is sometimes difficult to design for the masses. S2H has lowered the barrier to entry by keeping personal analytics dead easy to use and  affordable.