Author: Meredith Ford, Digital Studio Designer
Do you strive to become the healthiest version of yourself? With everything around us becoming “smarter,” you have more and more chances to track your health on the most minute level. When the e-fitness revolution started, you had to log everything yourself. With new innovations in technology, it has become even easier to track your health without even thinking about it.
No longer just step counters, these devices now look into how your body is working on a deeper level. They can tell you your heart rate, down to the minute. They can tell you how well you slept last night. They can even remind you to stand up and get moving or even to just take a break and breathe. All of the leading fitness trackers are focusing more deeply into how well your body is working.
Who knows where the future will lead? The little bracelet or watch on your wrist has endless possibilities. Connecting everything around you from the weather to your temperature, your O2 levels, your blood pressure – and the already tracked heart rate and activity level – your fitness tracker may be able to determine when you might have a cold coming on or when the best time for you to work out is.
There truly is an app for everything. They range from tracking everything from your weight, food intake and how much exercise you get, to ones as basic as reminding you to take a drink of water.
Technology has improved so much in such a short time. Everything is becoming more and more connected with the help of our phones. Soon, they could read your health stats and know what temperature gives you the best sleep – maybe even know when you’re working out and kick up the AC a notch or blast your favorite song right when you’re at the hardest part of your workout. The possibilities are endless! Eventually, your whole environment could be catered to your body without you even thinking about it.
Now that people are able to automatically track and log their health conditions, it’s making it much easier for physicians to get a deeper look into their patients’ health. With a simple share, your doctor can see exactly how you’ve been doing since your last visit.
The newest scales don’t just have a revolving disk that tells you how much you weigh. They tell you everything from your weight to your BMI, if you’re on track to reach your goal, and some even do it with a smile and a compliment – literally! They help you track your weight by connecting to your phone and keeping track of your goals and progress. They motivate you to work out a little harder today to shed that one last pound you’ve been working toward.
People with diabetes can now get an even closer look at their health with the latest technology. There are new blood glucose meters that sync straight to your phone; no need to type it in yourself. Just a quick reading and it’s logged to your phone, helping you gain greater insights into how to take care of your body and treat your diabetes. These new apps also provide functions to be able to send your logs to your physician so you can both discuss the best plan for your health.
With heart disease being the leading cause of death, knowing your risk level and keeping informed of your heart conditions are more important than ever. From a simple blood pressure monitor to even more advanced technology in development, people with heart failure can track their health and keep their doctor up to date on how their heart is doing.
The newest blood pressure monitors automatically log the data to your phone, making it easier to share with your physician. Simply put on the cuff, press start and your stats are logged to your app. The next time you see your doctor, simply share the log with them to help them determine if any changes to diet or medicine are necessary.
Pacemakers now exist that connect to a hub wirelessly and take a reading every night. Every six months, your log is sent to your doctor to review. Also, if there happen to be any anomalies, they are immediately sent to your doctor so that they can catch problems before they get too serious. Trust me, I have one and it has reduced my doctor visits by half!
The Scripps Research Institute is testing new devices that can give data on how the heart is functioning 24/7. Any problems can be caught in real time, and medications and diet can be adjusted to fix any problems before they become more severe.
The Future of Health Technology
Whether you have heart failure, diabetes or your family history makes you at risk for a disease, there are researchers working on new technologies to detect and solve it.
One of the greatest new examples is a patch that, with electrical and chemical signals, can sense if you are predisposed to or even if you already have a disease and didn’t even know about it. The advantages are endless when it comes to this new technology. Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases can be caught before they progress too far. By finding a baseline and catching when it changes, the patch can help detect these diseases before you even start to feel the effects.
As if straight out of a sci-fi movie, the future of health technology could even go so far as injected or implanted sensors to track even the smallest factors of one’s health. The Scripps Research Institute is leading the charge, working to develop the newest technologies that could keep us healthier for much longer. “A whole new day is coming,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, considered a pioneer in the field of digital medicine. The possibilities are endless.
- Morrissey, John. “The Medical Technologies That Are Changing Health Care.” H&HN Magazine, April 14, 2015.
- Lynch, Rene. “Future of Healthcare: Sensors Will Lead to Highly Personalized Care.” Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2015.