From monitoring health to the “Quantified Self”, mobile apps now offer a host of “self-tracking” possibilities.
Mobile medical apps
The healthcare sector has benefited hugely from the advent of mobile technologies: every month, innovative new services for healthcare organisations and patients are emerging, offering valuable opportunities, particularly for developing countries.
One notable example is the use of smartphones as mobile microscopes to detect malaria or monitor the spreading of epidemics by examining a drop of blood.
Apart from the obvious benefits in terms of controlling diseases, such applications also help improve the doctor-patient relationship. There are countless other examples, such as the smart blood pressure monitor which works with a person’s iPhone and is synchronised with their GP’s IT system; DbtMobile, the application used to monitor diabetic patients; iSommeil, an application developed by specialists from Paris’ Hôtel-Dieu hospital to monitor and create a profile of sleep patterns and thereby detect disorders such as sleep apnoea.
In terms of prevention, huge advances have also been made in connected objects, either equipped with sensors or with mobile apps. For example, ProxiZen is used to monitor people losing their independence via a television and a smartphone; Allergy Alert keeps users up to date with the country's leading pollen and allergy forecast; and a smartphone enabled thermometer is now available.
The Quantified Self: when new year’s resolutions alone aren’t quite enough
Currently very fashionable for fitness freaks in the US, “self-quantifying” (also called “self-tracking” or “body-hacking”) involves digitally monitoring your health and lifestyle and recording the data and even sharing it with online communities to compare performances and monitor progress.
If you plan on dieting after the usual Christmas excesses, why not try a smart scale, a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled device that measures your weight, body fat and body mass index (BMI), and tells you how your diet or fitness regime can affect these.
If you decide that 2013 is the year you quit smoking, start exercising regularly or run a marathon, you can enlist the services of a ˝digital coach˝ to plan a personalised plan to give up smoking, monitor your heart rate or draw up a personalised training programme.
To find out more about the Quantified Self, read an article from The Economist