The Future of Personal Health Technologies

From a very young age, children are being taught a few basic things. Don’t lie so your nose won’t peak over the mountains and the ugly duckling may end up being the gorgeous swan. This article is meant to present some of the ways in which technology merges with healthcare nowadays. The merging brings a different aspect to the quality of life; one that people could have barely imagined 10 years ago. Personal health technology is the next big invention in health care and the love of technological gadgets. There are many exciting devices that are simple and better than what people have been using. The most crucial function of these personal health technologies is that they will improve and save people’s lives.

The “Babysitting” Devices

The past years have welcomed people, especially the avid users of brand new tech, with as much innovation as one can handle. From phones that monitor every single movement to smartwatches that can serve all purposes, fingerprint powered lock screens so on and so forth. All of that makes from small to huge differences in the way people exist. What interests many the most is how they influence people’s daily lives.

For example, Pebble, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, has designed an app that tracks users’ sleep patterns and programs a suitable resting schedule according to their real-life priorities. The way people move during sleep, the breathing rhythm or even the beat of the heart, all that can now be measured with accuracy, thanks to technology which keeps advancing.

The Heart Rate Can be Monitored Using a Smartphone

Practically, how this will be implemented is quite difficult. The latest improvements that have taken place have improved personal health tracking activity.

The accuracy has improved. Some 2 or 3 years back, it was a great challenge. The machine learning algorithms have improved in collecting elaborate patterns from noise. A good example for that algorithm is the Sleep Number’s smartbed technology. Sensors are embedded all over the mattress.

The sensors perceive the body movement. When the heart beats, the body normally presses on a mattress and that is picked up. During breathing, the chest moves and that is picked up.

The bed then sends all the information to a Sleep Number computer where the algorithm will crunch the numbers and send an alert to a Smartphone on how one slept.

This can have a bearing on a person’s health. Fed by information from people who own beds, the algorithm keeps getting better.

Over four billion biometric data is collected every night from a lot of sleepers. The algorithm puts together the gathered information with findings from the sleep labs.

Some signatures are altered during sleep and this indicates something bigger. The experts have started to find out what the changes mean, whether there is a heart problem or a breathing problem or a sleeping disorder.

  • More about the gadgets that monitor sleep

Beds are still very far from determining if one has a disorder such as sleep apnea. At times, restless sleep and high heart rate may be due to too much drinking.

The Sleep Number’s algorithm is like a job going on. As per the existing findings, it is not easy to form excellent machine learning predictions such as heart rate state and sleep apnea.

But there are so many companies working on that and with time, the best solutions will be found.

But for Sleep Numbers, there is no aim of diagnosing anything. People could still ask their medics some more thorough examination. But it is believed that those who sleep on smart beds and have been alerted can assist their medics to identify health problems before they get worse.

  • More about the gadgets that monitor heart rate and other metrics

Other companies have already started to convert the traditional health devices such as blood pressure cuffs, heart monitors and weight scales into consumer electronics. Most of these were designed for individuals who had an interest in personal metrics, but these gadgets are now being introduced in programs meant to assist patients who suffer from serious illnesses like diabetes.

A hospital that is run by Partners HealthCare attempted one similar monitoring program for people suffering from heart failure. Every patient received a weight scale that is connected to the internet and a blood pressure cuff which streamed data to the doctors.

There are also sensors that gather information about how the body moves; its heart rate, blood pressure, and many other metrics. The number of health monitors that go above activity trackers such as Fitbits increases yearly.

Most of those devices will improve the state of the health care system, with affordable and more efficient service. However, this will require separating important gadgets and data from unproductive ones.

The Personal Psychologists

It’s been proven now, by many studies and scientists, that the current generation is the most stressed-out generation. The more they evolve the more things to worry about are being created. They made the Smartphone so now they worry they’ll lose it, or it will run out of battery and they won’t be connected to social media anymore. They also worry about money needed to upgrade it and the list can only go on about anything in people’s lives.

Thankfully, there is something to help you cope, and guess what; it has a control app directly connected to your phone. It is the PIP, a small device manufactured so that it can give exact information on the stress levels one is burdened with. The said app comes as an aid to teach the user how to reduce stress by having him transform a depressing scene into a happy one through relaxation exercises, giving tips and pieces of advice along with the tutorials.

Fitness Gadgets

In fitness gadgets, the level of accuracy is very important. A very accurate device will enable the user to attain his fitness goal.

Most of the fitness trackers being designed lately include a heartbeat monitor through PPG (photoplethysmogram), for instance, the Apple watch. Most gadgets are created to be worn on the upper torso. The chest strap may not be flexible and may feel uncomfortable. Additionally, most gadgets that operate near the heart are not supposed to be used the whole day, they are used only during exercises. With fitness technology, you can automate the checking and recording of exercises while integrating them into accessories that can be won.

Blood Pressure Monitoring Devices

In blood pressure monitoring, a good example would be Withings Blood Pressure which is an app that basically does all the work whilst the device itself simply attaches and works on the traditional format of blood pressure measuring tool. Another example is the AliveCor Heart Monitor, a very small device attached to your gadget that generally represents a mobile phone based electrocardiogram. Regardless, sooner or later they will give up on separate components and include through partnerships the whole kit in the Smartphone’s composition.

The Entire World on One Arrow

More precisely, this is to say; all the wanted features on one device. Manufacturers of devices such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, and heart monitors, all of them had something to lose when the Smartphone market boomed around 2013-2014. Therefore, forced to adapt, they brought in essential updates to their own products. Most of them chose to incorporate software to the already existing models or redesign the whole thing.

Outcome of Personal Health Technologies

Clinicians touch base with sick people when there is an indicator showing that something is not right and they intervene before the patient’s condition worsens. This type of tracking has contributed a lot to minimize the number of hospital readmission rates, the mortality of patients, costs, at least for some months since it started being used.

The dream of everyone involved in personal health checking gadgets is to extend such programs to people who are healthy. If everything gets checked, everything will be preventive and proactive, and people will be attended to before they become seriously sick.

If there are smart gadgets gathering information on heart performance, sleep, weight, exercise and much more, medics who have excellent AI skills may be able to make good decisions remotely.

This means that there will be fewer visits to a doctor’s office and it can become an ongoing process in a person’s life.

But there are challenges in getting people to take these gadgets seriously. Many people quit making use of them because they do not find them sufficient enough. Besides, if you are healthy and you are not at any risk of falling sick, checking yourself will feel unnecessary.

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