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Mark Lerner
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Mark Lerner
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May 23, 2013

Digital Health: A Revolution in The Making

I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning” - Steve Jobs

You may not have noticed it, but there is a revolution stirring. We are seeing a perfect storm that has created confluence of digital technology, a focus on health and fitness and the growing understanding of behavior modification.

Mobile phone were once just that - a phone that you could carry with you wherever you go. But today, they are so much more. They are “Smartphones” and now they have become the front line in a health and fitness movement that is sweeping across the globe.

From apps that monitor your heart rate during exercise, to apps that let you contact your doctor and get real time health information, the Digital Health movement is spawning new and innovative tools and services nearly every day.

More and more investors are feeling confident enough to invest large sums of money to help foster these amazing innovations.

The growth of investment in companies that develope Digital Health technologies and products is growing exponentially, and nearly everyday you read about investors pronouncing their belief that these types of companies are the way of the future. 

Digital Health is term that encompasses several areas of growth.

There are 3 main developments within Digital Health that are leading the revolution:

mHealth Apps

The real crux of the Digital Health comes in the form of apps. Using mobile applications and technologies to enhance users lives, particularly giving them tools to live healthier.

According to the latest industry data available, there are presently 31,000 health, fitness, and medical related apps on the market today. mHealth apps are a crucial aspect of the other main developments in Digital Health. 

An example of these apps is tawkon, a free application that will alert you when radiation from your phone spikes and suggest ways on how to minimize your exposure. The app taps into internal data from your phone and uses propriatery algorithm to analyze the level of radiation that your phone is emitting while making a call.

tawkon is just one example of many up and coming mHealth apps.

Others include: 

 

  RunKeeper

 

 

 Fooducate

 

 

 Endomondo

 

 

  Fitocracy

 

 

  Epicurious

 

And many others

Wearables

The market for wearable devices, or “wearables” is exploding. It is said that it will become a $1.5 Billion industry by 2014, and this is mainly spurred by mobile health.

FitBit and Nike+ Fuel Band are just two examples of many wildly popular health related wearables. These products are leading the way for more mobile connected devices that help track things like blood glucose levels, eating habits, heart rate and running distance. 

Wearables are taking health related mobile technology to a level that could never have been imagined only a few years ago. It is very exciting to watch the new and ingenius products that are coming out lately. 

Quantified Self

Quantified self is defined as “a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs, states, and performance and physical.”

Quantified Self is the glue that ties Wearables and mHealth apps together. With the emergence of mobile technology, quantified self allows users to look at their own behaviors, in this case those behaviors as they relate to health and wellness, and allow them to readjust that behavior in order to live healthier lives. 

Wearables are an integral part of Quatified Self as it related to Digital Health. These devices, through their accompanying apps, let users identify their physical behaviors and track their progress. 

A great example of a new player in the Digital Health and Quantified Self game is the CORE 2 armband from BodyMedia. The device was anounced at CES 2013 to much fanfare. The device is billed as “the smallest health tracker ‘of its kind" by its maker. CORE 2 is fashionable, light and it connects to BodyMedia's existing software and keeps track of a variety of health related activies including steps you have taken and calories you have burned, and lets you use this data in order to implement healthier behaviors. 

Another aspect of Quantified Self is the ability for users to document and discuss with others their health related issues and behaviors. Sites like MyFitnessPal utilize digital tools in order to let people track and discuss their progress towards living healthier lives.

We live in exciting times. Digital Health is growing into areas that we could never have imagined only a few years ago and we are looking forward to the amazing innovations that are just around the corner. The future of Digital Health is bright! 

 


 

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