Many people think that health care is what happens at their health provider’s office, with health monitoring limited to time spent at a clinic or a medical facility. However, in reality managing one’s health is ever-present once we are old enough to become self-aware. However, and fortunately, most people spend the majority of their lives away from medical settings. Most would agree that health is not top of mind while engaging in day-to-day activities.
Nonetheless, good health is an ongoing pursuit — a value that ideally should permeate our motives and actions. Unfortunately, our personal well-being is often not contemplated until an ill-fated event makes us mindful of the importance of health.
In contrast to healthy individuals, people who suffer from chronic diseases are quite aware of the need for perpetual health tracking. Measuring vital signs and regularly observing their body’s biometric signals are often an integral part of their daily routines as well as a life-long commitment in their treatment regimen.
New technological developments are offering hope that these individuals can become more connected, making the data they collect more available, valuable and useful.
Retrofitting Antiquated Technology
One of the key barriers to device interoperability is the speed at which health technology is developed. Many devices that were created only a few years back were not built with transmitting data in mind, let alone with the thought of data standards.
One of the first companies to try to solve this problem is Netpulse. Netpulse, a fitness technology company, was an early pioneer with the idea of integrating data through image capture using xCapture feature from their smartphone application. Predominantly promoted in the health club space, the Netpulse mobile application aims to digitalize fitness data from disparate exercise equipment through pattern recognition and then coalesce this information so it becomes more useful for the user.
The Netpulse app gives users the freedom to work out on a variety of equipment without being confined to a particular brand’s proprietary front-end software.
Depositing Health Data onto a Phone
Evolving this concept for health care, Validic, one of the world’s leading digital health platforms, is introducing mobile health technology that can transfer real-time data from Non-Connected Devices to Health IT Systems. Announced at this year’s CES, Validic’s VitalSnap can help patients reach their health goals and could potentially revolutionize the way health data is collected and used. Drew Schiller, Validic’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, recognized that a majority of medical devices people use today to monitor their personal health needs are not connected and therefore do not sync with health data platforms. These so-called Non-Connected Devices limit the utility of data that patients with chronic conditions gather during daily self-monitoring.
Information collected with many early monitoring devices often leaves the user relying on pen and paper to track progress.
Manual data collection methods have a lot of limitations in terms of storing and sharing information in a meaningful way. Moreover, they are often not practical nor are they compatible with modern data collection practices — let alone the tempo of modern life.
The value of VitalSnap is it allows patients to continue using existing non-connected health devices by adding the ability to connect their data in a novel way. By simply using a smartphone, a patient can now store his or her readings onto the accompanying application. After taking his or her biometric measurement, the user holds the smartphone over the device and opens the VitalSnap application. The device’s readings get instantly captured by the phone’s camera. The data are then delivered to the system via the Validic Digital Health Platform and can be sent directly to the individual’s health-care provider as well, maintaining privacy and security at all times. This enables patients to participate in their health care in a way that had not been possible before.
Tracking health becomes not only more effective but possibly more enjoyable and compatible with other daily activities. Also, this innovative digital technology is aiming to bridge the gap between patients who have difficulty traveling but still would like to share data with their health-care provider. When it comes to data interoperability health care lags behind many industries, but VitalSnap is enabling patients to meet their providers where they are today creating a win-win situation.