Featured Article – Medical Apps For Smart Devices
The global pandemic and news about tracking apps have put health and technology in the spotlight. With this in mind, here are some examples of medical apps for smart devices and smart health products that involve a link between smart wearables, apps, and other smart products.
Just A Look, Not An Endorsement
Before we delve into the world of health-tech, we would like to stress that we have no connection to (and are not endorsing or selling) any of the brands or products mentioned in this article and that other brands and products to those mentioned are available. The intention is simply to take a brief look at a range of product types that are currently available.
Samsung’s Smart Watch For Blood Pressure
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd (South Korea) has just announced the launch of its Samsung Health Monitor app to be used with Galaxy Watch Active2.
The smart app delivers a visual display of the wearer’s blood pressure to the watch and gives instructions if the readings present a potential danger. Once the app is linked to the watch, and the app is calibrated every four weeks, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 wearer simply needs to tap their watch to measure their blood pressure. The measurement results can be synced to the app on the user’s Galaxy phone and the results that have been tracked over days, weeks or months can also be shared with the user’s doctor as part of a medical review or consultation.
Samsung says that Electrocardiogram (ECG) tracking will also be supported on the Samsung Health Monitor app in South Korea within the third quarter of this year.
Other, EKG/ECG smart products and their associated apps are already available e.g. the mobile EKG monitor from AliveCor which links to a dedicated app to deliver and electrocardiogram (ECG) to a smartphone in around 30 seconds.
Many of us are already familiar with (or may have) a Fitbit or similar wearable health and fitness device.
The French ScanWatch, for example, is an advanced health/fitness watch that, for example, tracks heartbeat irregularities, and blood oxygen saturation during sleep, and connects to a smartphone (Android) app via Bluetooth.
Apple’s fitness tracking watch can also measure vital signs.
Apple, for example, makes a number of other smart health tech gadgets that link to smartphone apps, such as the Beddit Sleep Monitor. This system uses a slim, flat bracelet that feeds data about the wearer’s sleep to a smartphone app to help the user to improve the quality of their sleep.
With a high temperature (or limited high-temperature spikes) being a well-known symptom of COVID-19 for example, products such as the Withings Thermo thermometer, which gives the user an accurate temperature reading while automatically syncing with the app on the user’s iPhone or iPad, may be of particular interest to many people at this time.
Blood Glucose Level Monitoring
For those who need to keep a close eye on their blood glucose levels, there are now some smart products on the market that can help achieve this. One example is the iHealth Lab Inc Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System, which comes with a glucometer, lancets and a lancing device, and it connects to an App which displays and records the results and keeps a history of all blood glucose measurements.
Brain Activity Monitor To Help Reduce Stress
Smart brain activity monitoring systems are also now available. These use a headband device that communicates (via Bluetooth) with an app on the user’s smartphone or tablet. The purpose of these apps, such as ‘Muse’, is to be able to help users to lower their stress levels, increase their resilience and improve their engagement/attention.
One of the few real benefits of the global pandemic has been an improvement in air quality, due to the dramatic reduction in vehicle and industrial pollution. There are, however, smart products linked to apps that can help give alerts about air quality to those suffering from asthma or allergies. One example is Atmotube Pro which uses sensors and a free mobile app to keep the user informed about any air quality threats and the presence of harmful gases. Other examples include the Index BreezoMeter pollen and weather app.
For those hoping to start a family, fertility tracking wearable and app combinations can help. Examples include the Ovia Fertility Tracker and Ava’s fertility tracking system. These device/app combinations use a wearable bracelet to take the measurements e.g. temperature, pulse rate, breathing rate, and sleeping patterns to produce results that are displayed in graphics on a smartphone app so that a woman is able to more accurately judge when she is likely to be most fertile.
Track and Trace Apps
Perhaps the most important health app at the current time for many would be a track and trace app. Unfortunately, the much-anticipated app that was being trialled in the Isle of Wight has now been ditched. The hope is, with human track and tracing operating in the meantime, that an app based on Apple and Google’s technology will be available in the UK in the near future.
Looking Forward – Opportunities
Wearables linked to phone apps are a growth area that is providing many opportunities for businesses with health and fitness products that can be given significant added value thanks to a smart element and a good app. The scope for businesses focusing on the health and fitness sector is huge although big tech names which already have integration of products and strong, recognisable, and trusted brands e.g. Apple or Samsung are in a particularly strong position.
Even though manufacturers of smart wearable technology are offering something of real value to consumers who are now, perhaps, more conscious than ever about health matters, they should not forget that security and privacy of the data stored and transmitted about the user should always be a priority, and it is in the interest of the manufacturer and the customer that correct safeguards are taken.