From the more well-known health wearables that count steps and calories burned, to new applications for digital health you have to see to believe, here are just a few of the new digital health and wellness tools that could be game changers for you and your healthcare provider.
It’s easy to get excited about digital health technology. Over the last several years, we’ve moved from activity trackers that help you count steps, to activity sensors that detect when you fall… individuals who watched “The Bionic Man” on TV change the channel with their bionic hand… and experts who developed blind spot warning systems create technology that helps the blind “see.”
Sometimes it seems there’s no limit to what’s possible, as the digital health and wellness tools highlighted in this article would suggest.
Seeing Is Believing: An Artificial Vision Device
If you need a “wow” moment in your day, you’ve got to see the video at the bottom of this page. The OrCam MyEye 2.0 is a wearable artificial vision device with a lightweight smart camera for individuals who are blind or partially sighted. Magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglasses or sunglasses frame, it weighs less than an ounce and is about the size of a finger. Activated by simple hand gestures or by following the wearer’s gaze, this assistive technology device can do these amazing things, all without requiring a smartphone or WiFi:
- Read printed or digital text - Users simply point to text on any surface - books, restaurant menus, product labels, signs, computer or smartphone screens, etc. - and the OrCam MyEye 2.0 reads the text aloud.
- Recognize faces - The device provides real-time face recognition, learning to recognize previously stored faces and using the user’s own voice tag to announce who is standing in front of them.
- Identify products - Users can shop independently by pointing to the barcode of a product to hear what they are holding. OrCam MyEye 2.0 features a database of millions of product barcodes, and has the ability to store up to 150 of the user’s favorite products.
- Identify money notes - Paying with cash is made easier as the device can tell the user what denomination of cash they’re about to hand over or receive.
- Detect color - Shopping for clothes or getting dressed can be done with confidence as the user simply points to an area of clothing and the device provides quick and accurate color detection.
- Tell time - With a flip of their wrist like they are looking at their watch, users prompt the device to announce the time and date.
Sticking It To Diabetes: Blood Sugar Monitoring Without Piercing the Skin
GlucoWise™ is a non-invasive glucose monitor being developed by a company in London. This lightweight, wireless device can monitor blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes without having to pierce the skin. No more painful fingertips or expensive test strips!
The user simply positions the digital health and wellness device to gently squeeze the thin skin between the thumb and index finger or the earlobe. In seconds, the blood glucose reading appears on the screen. The result can be sent wirelessly to a mobile app on a smartphone or to a cloud-based storage system so the user can track their results, monitor trends in blood sugar levels, and share the information with their doctor.
Breathing Easier: Tracking Symptoms of Asthma or COPD
When someone has asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’s important for them to track when and how often they use their inhaler. Tracking this information helps them get a clearer picture of how in control they are of their breathing. It also helps them spot trends in their use of rescue medication so they can learn to avoid situations that make it difficult to breathe or that trigger an asthma attack. But when you’re busy living life, tracking this information isn’t always easy or convenient.
That problem is solved with Propeller, a digital health tool that automatically tracks this information. With Propeller, a Bluetooth sensor is simply snapped on to an inhaler or Bluetooth spirometer. The user takes their medication as they normally would while the sensor automatically syncs wirelessly with the Propeller Health smartphone app and records the data.
Time, date, and location are stored, making it easier for individuals with asthma or COPD to identify specific triggers for attacks (environmental, time of day, etc.), learn to avoid them, and gain better control over their symptoms.
In April, Health Affairs published the results of a study conducted by Propeller Health, the city leaders of Louisville, KY, and the Institute of Healthy Air, Water, and Soil. Participants in the study, who used Propeller’s inhaler sensor and digital health platform, experienced a 78 percent reduction in rescue inhaler use and a 48 percent improvement in symptom-free days.
Digital Health and Wellness Tools With Heart: Mobile Cardiac Monitoring
KardiaMobile is a small device that works with most Android or iOS smartphones and tablets to take a medical-grade EKG anytime, anywhere. In just 30 seconds, the device can detect if heart rhythm is normal or if atrial fibrillation is detected. The user can email the EKG to themselves and their doctor.
Another product, Medtronic SEEQ™, is a Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) System that provides a simple solution for short-term cardiac monitoring. Combining a wearable adhesive sensor and a wireless transmitter, the system can be used to diagnose heart arrhythmia without getting in the way of the wearer’s daily activities.
As Medtronic explains, this can be especially helpful in cases where someone is “experiencing unexplained fainting, heart palpitations, or symptoms that suggest atrial fibrillation.” While these experiences may be related to irregular heartbeat and treatments are available, it’s important to accurately detect and diagnose irregularities to ensure they are properly managed and treated. “This can be challenging when arrhythmias may occur only every now and then. Fortunately, the SEEQ MCT external heart monitor can record all irregular heartbeats to give your doctor the needed data—and give you peace of mind.”
The peel-and-stick wearable sensor is like having an adhesive bandage applied to the chest. It monitors the heart around the clock, records any irregular heart rhythms, and sends data to a monitoring center through a transmitter the wearer carries with them. Information is shared with the wearer’s doctor so the right diagnosis and treatment plan can be determined.
Digital Rehabilitation Solution: Rehabilitation At Hand
The RAPAEL Smart Glove is a simply ingenious high-tech rehabilitation device that users wear like a glove. Paired with gaming options through the RAPAEL app, the wearer can choose games that provide over 40 therapy exercises. Problems with grip, dexterity, coordination, and more can be alleviated through game play in the comfort of an individual’s home by renting the system, which was previously only available in healthcare settings.
Stress Out: Learning to Reduce Stress Through Digital Health Technology
With Pip, a small device held between the thumb and index finger, and companion apps for Android and iOS, users can detect and reduce their stress level, and learn how to better manage their stress in the future.
While users hold the device, Pip detects if they are focused and relaxed or if they are stressed and their mind is wandering. The app delivers a session of visual and audio feedback to calm stress levels. Users receive a score at the end of the session and can track their progress over time, learning to identify triggers for stress, retrain their attention and emotions, and gain better control over their reactions in stressful situations.
The Familiar: Wearable Health and Fitness Trackers
For individuals who are independent and tech-savvy, wearable fitness or activity trackers like the Fitbit are still hot products for good reason.
Depending on the fitness tracker selected, wearers can monitor their physical activity, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, and sleep quality. They can use in-app features to set reminders to exercise, take their medications, take their blood glucose, and more. And with corresponding cloud-based or mobile apps they can sync with their wearable devices, individuals can store tracked information and easily share their results with family, caregivers, and healthcare providers.
The healthcare data tracked over time can help doctors spot trends in an individual’s health and identify patterns of behavior that are having a negative impact on reaching their healthcare goals.
Welcome To the Digital Health and Wellness Revolution
As digital health tools and healthcare apps enter the market on a daily basis, the future of healthcare changes. What tools will healthcare technology companies think of next and how will they improve your health and lifestyle? Click here to get more information and news about the latest in digital health technology.