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Decline of Health and Fitness Tracker Usage

I’ve started hearing a number of people mention this. In some cases it’s first hand accounts of their own usage and in other cases it’s people talking about the health and fitness tracker usage trend. Basically, it seems that we haven’t yet figured out how to make a health and fitness tracker sticky. This chart from Edneavour Partners shows the tracker usage trend really well:
Health and Fitness Tracker Usage

From my own personal experience, I’ve found a similar usage curve. The big challenge is that the value of the tracker 3 months out isn’t clear. When you first start using the tracker, the data is quite interesting because you’ve never seen the fitness tracking data. Plus, you’re interested to see how it changes over time. Once you reach the 3 month plateau, you already basically know the patterns and so they lose their value.

What’s not clear is whether these companies (or some outside company) will find a way to leverage a long term history of tracking into something really valuable. Will having blood pressure trends for 3 years make it so you can detect potential health issues that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise? I think this is the potential for the quantified self movement, but I’m skeptical that the current set of trackers and sensors will get us there. How much value can be gotten from steps, weight, and blood pressure? I think we’ll need a more advanced set of trackers to be able to reach that longer term goal.

May 21, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Bridging the Fitness Apps and Device Trackers with the Medical Community

Next week I’m going to the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Obviously, being a consumer show, the health applications are very much consumer focused. They have a whole section of the show dedicated to digital health and it’s been growing each year (up 60% this year I’m told).

I’m on the press list and I’ve been really interested in the wave of fitness devices that have passed through my inbox. They come in all shapes and sizes and record everything from steps to heart rate to blood pressure to every in between. Basically, I see a whole plethora of applications and devices that are measuring various aspects of our health. The wave is here. Who’s going to win this race isn’t all that clear to me, but the fact that we’re going to have devices measuring our health is clear.

What’s also not clear is how these measurements are going to bridge over to the medical community. Sure, there are targeted pilot programs where some of these devices are used by doctors or hospitals. However, most of these consumer monitoring and device companies aren’t thinking about the medical implications. In fact, many of them are staying far away from it as they avoid any sort of FDA oversight.

While I understand the desire to not have to make the bridge to the medical community, I don’t think most of these devices and apps will make it without making the bridge. If I’ve already recorded all of my blood pressure data on my iPad using a blood pressure cuff at home, I’m going to want an easy way that I can provide that data to my doctor.

Maybe this is an opportunity for an innovative company to provide that bridge. I’m sure most of these mobile health developers would be happy to tap into a public “utility” that would connect their data to the medical community. The problem is that it’s not sexy to be a utility.

December 30, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Is the Digital Health Industry About to Fail?

What an interesting question. It’s one that the Get Health Blog recently covered including this video below:

While I don’t agree that digital health will fail, they make a good point about the need to focus on the result and not the data. Far too many digital health startup companies worry too much about the data and not enough about what people do with the data. It makes sense why. The later is much harder to do. However, that’s also what makes doing the later so much more valuable.

October 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Breath Acoustic Headset in IndieGogo and Philips Innovation Fellow Competition

I’m always interested in the latest and greatest devices that are entering healthcare. So, I was really intrigued by this new All-In-One Breath Acoustic headset from Breath Research. The Breach Acoustics All-in-One headset includes:

  • Acoustic breath pattern analysis
  • Heart Rate
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • Altitude, Location and Barometric Pressure

Here’s the video they use on their IndieGogo campaign to introduce the product:

As of this posting, they’ve raised $11,872 on their IndieGogo campaign with a goal of $30,000. If you contribute $200 you will receive one BeathAcoustics headset. Plus, they have a number of other options available including a variety of coaching and training sessions from Breath Research CEO, Nirinjan Yee.

I’m a little leery on the claims that the headset together with HearZones USA will help you:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Achieve weight loss goals
  • Get better sleep

I think their basing these claims on personalized health and fitness recommendations. So, in that respect their probably accurate. I think there are many studies that show that health and fitness can provide the above results. The question I have is whether this Breathe Acoustic headset will provide a significant change to someone’s health and fitness habits.

As they say in the campaign, athletes have been using personalized physiological data for years. The question I have is whether providing that data to everyone will really impact someone’s health. I certainly don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m excited to see Breath Acoustic bringing that analysis to the masses.

I also found it interesting that the above IndieGogo campaign is part of the Phillips Innovation Fellow Competition. Here’s a short description of the competition (done in partnership with IndieGogo):

Philips and Indiegogo are hosting the “Innovation Fellows” competition and are calling for innovators to submit their #BIGIDEA to address the current innovation gap in the areas of living well, being healthy and enjoying life. With its constant commitment to people-focused innovation, Philips aims to make a difference in people’s everyday lives, and is offering $100,000 of its own money, plus mentoring from Philips leaders, to help the best ideas come to market faster.

You can see the 37 entrants in this competition here. I’m really fascinated by the idea of someone like Philips working with IndieGogo for the competition. How smart is it to use actual customer driven purchasing to drive a competition? Certainly there’s more to innovation than customer purchasing, but that can be one indicator of something people actually care to use. I’ll be interested to see how this competition goes.

September 9, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Jawbone Acquires BodyMedia and Launches Partner API

Today it was announced that Jawbone has acquired BodyMedia. Here’s an excerpt on the acquisition and announcement from pandydaily.

Today Jawbone, the company that makes the wearable “quantified self” band UP, issued two announcements: it’s rolling out an API so the device can integrate with other apps and connected devices relating to health and wellness. It’s also acquiring BodyMedia, which makes an FDA-approved weight-loss device called FIT that’s been used on the TV show “The Biggest Loser.”

The BodyMedia acquisition is a talent and intellectual property grab – it has 87 patents in its IP portfolio – but it will retain its name, continue producing the FIT, and keep its office in Pittsburgh open. The company would not disclose any other terms of the sale. The acquisition is a smart move in building out the product’s abilities in the future. BodyMedia has a medical bent, so surely future iterations of UP will pay more attention to things like disease monitoring.

But the really intriguing news is the API. It will allow partner apps to be able to tap into a user’s Jawbone data so she can find out more about her health and wellness habits. For example, a user can log onto MapMyFitness and view workout data in UP. Or he can step on a Withing scale – another connected device – and import his weight into up and see it in the context of sleeping and eating habits.

I think the article is right that the biggest asset that Jawbone is acquiring is the patent portfolio of BodyMedia. The other hard part is that I think the BodyMedia brand is better known than the Jawbone brand. So, the company will have a tough decision in how to go forward. It will take some time for them to work through the existing inventories and merge the product lines. It will be fun to watch.

I find the Jawbone API a little disappointing since it’s just a partner API. I know they say their intent is to eventually open up the Jawbone data to anyone, but I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do this from the start.

April 30, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Fujitsu Smartphone to Measure Vitals

There’s a revolution in health sensors that are coming to the smartphone world. This was first seen when the Samsung phones decided to include sensors to measure the temperature and humidity of your location.

It looks like Fujitsu is ready to launch a new smartphone that measures your vital health information using you smartphone camera. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

[Fujitsu] have just announced plan to begin including health tracking technology into their future smartphones. This tech would be able to figure out your heart rate just by looking at your face. Basically, you stick your mug in front of the camera and the phone does the rest. How in the world does it do this? Subtle changes in facial blood flow are not detectable by the human eye but are able to be seen by computers. Lo and behold, smartphones are actually computers.

I first saw this technology in action at the Connected Health Summit in Boston a couple years ago. It’s really amazing monitoring technology using just your smartphone camera. It’s a beautiful thing since you don’t need a wristband, armband, clip on, etc. You just need the smartphone that you’re carrying around already.

I wonder if this monitoring technology is just an app that can work with almost any hardware or if it will need a specific camera to work right. It would be great if it’s just an app, because then this could work for any smartphone.

April 10, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Tracking Health Infographic

The people at Pathfinder Software have put together an infographic on Health Tracking. The data for their infographic comes from a Pew Research Study. It highlights something I’ve discussed much before as far as those with chronic conditions tracking their health versus healthy patients. There’s a big difference in those two groups. I was also intrigued by the data sharing numbers. I’d like to know the exact question asked, but those patients with no conditions shared a lot more than I thought they would with their doctor.

Here’s the infographic:
Infographic_Tracking_Final

April 5, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Google Gets Into Activity Tracking

Fierce Mobile Healthcare has a great article up talking about Google entering the activity tracking market with an Android app called Google Now. Turns out that Google Now is a lot more than just a fitness activity tracker. I think that Google looks at Google Now as the smart part of your phone that keeps track of what you’re doing and tries to provide real time information based upon all the data about you. It’s the next level Siri if you want to think about it that way. So, it makes sense that Google Now would also try and understand your health in the process.

While it’s interesting to see Google get back into the Health game after the failure of Google Health to get any traction, I think this is a really smart move. Plus, why isn’t the smartphone your activity tracking device? I know very few people who leave their house without their smartphone, but I know very few people who want to wear any other device all day every day.

Sure, your smartphone won’t track your activity level perfectly, but it can get pretty close. The battery won’t last as long as the other activity trackers along with other issues. However, when you look a the core technology in the fitness trackers and your smartphone, they are pretty close. I’ll reach out to some of my mHealth device friends to get their thoughts on the difference. Maybe there are a number of other issues I’m not thinking about.

We’ll see how this evolves, but the more we can make mHealth activity tracking a normal part of people’s routine, the more likely we’ll see results from it.

January 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Every Heart Beat Measured and Quantified

Today, we have thousands of health and fitness apps connecting us to digital “coaches” and helping us socialize with our friends, but we don’t have a medical platform. We don’t have a medical Google, or an Amazon, or a Facebook. We don’t even have an AOL of medicine. What we mostly have is a Wikipedia for medicine, which I and my fellow clinicians and colleagues quote daily. (That’s a good thing.)

We have had some big successes with digital medicine. In my field about six years ago, device companies started putting antennas into implanted devices. We now analyze data from those devices in more than 200,000 patients. We’ve collected information on 20 million device downloads, recorded 150,000 life-saving interventions, and collected millions of pieces of valuable additional data. The numbers were clear. Here is what we’ve learned:

If you open up this implanted device to the network, people live longer.

We live longer and healthier lives when our health is continuously monitored by a device and exceptions to normal health are reported by the device to our caregivers. The technology exists and is often very inexpensive. It keeps people out of hospitals; saving money and lives. We’ve proven that.
So why aren’t we doing more monitoring? It’s not a regulatory problem or a lack-of-vision problem in the medical and technology companies; it’s that there’s too much perceived risk in changing the medical structure.

What an amazing quote from an article in Venture Beat. Yes, the article was written in April, but it is just as applicable today. Go and read the whole thing since it’s well worth it.

For those who don’t read the whole thing, it’s written by a wonderful doctor named Leslie Saxon of the USC Center for Body Computing. At the end of the article she talks about their Every Heart Beat initiative and compares it to the Human Genome Project. I think the collection of health data and its use has as many potential benefits as the human genome.

I love Dr. Saxon’s call to open up the data from devices to the network. Doing so will make people live longer. What I don’t understand is why the medical world is so resistant to this idea. I love Dr. Saxon’s vision of, “Imagine your doctor calling you to schedule an appointment because she knows the condition of your body, rather than vice versa.”

What do we need to do to reach this vision?

November 13, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.