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How Data Is Changing the Future of Smart Health Technology

“Many products and applications exist today that can help us take steps toward healthier living.” – Ben Bajarin

Big data is everywhere. Yes it’s true that it has always been there but, we are just recently finding ways to best utilize it. All industries are being disrupted with the collection and analyzation of data and medtech is no different.

The majority of data has historically been used to help study disease and find cures. However, with the implementation of smartphones and wearables, big data can now help people with their health in real-time. Experts such as Ben Bajarin from Time Magazine agree that wearables are the future of smart health technology.

 “Many products and applications exist today that can help us take steps toward healthier living,” writes Bajarin, in an article on the future of smart health. “Hopefully, technology and smart devices will not only help the healthy stay that way but, also educate others about how to live a healthier life.

So how is big data being used in medtech?

Helping Athletes Get Better

Each year we see athletes setting new records. The recent Summer Olympics in Rio is a great example where 60 Olympic and 19 world records were broken. It may seem like some records will never be surpassed but, there are many working behind the scenes to make sure athletes continue to reach new heights.

One such company working to make this happen is Under Armour. The company has invested close to a billion dollars on numerous apps to help track nutrition, fitness, activity, and sleep data. “Technology will play a bigger and bigger role in helping athletes get better,” Mike Lee, SVP of Connected Fitness at Under Armour, told Fortune in a 2016 interview. “And that’s the mission at Under Armour.”

Tracking a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s not only about athletes. Under Armour uses apps to incorporate data to help everyday people get healthier. One such app used by Under Armour is MyFitnessPal which counts calories for the user. Another is MapMyRun which tracks a user’s running activity.

So why are these important?

According to Lee, these apps will eventually work together by suggesting a place to eat after you complete a run. It could take into account how many calories you’ve burned, how many you have already consumed, and then suggest a place where you can get a meal to fit within your calorie goal.

Preventing Drug Interactions

“More prescriptions means an increased risk of harmful mistakes being made by elder Americans,” writes Drug Lawsuit Source, in a blog post about medication mistakes in the elderly. “Each new prescription increases the likelihood of a mistake being made, either by the physician or the patient.”

Other than talking with the pharmacist, is there another way to avoid dangerous interactions with medication?

Two of the top apps for drug interactions are Medscape and PocketPharmacist. Both pull data from drug interaction databases to compare with your entered prescriptions. So, no longer a need to wait in line to speak to the pharmacist as the apps will give you instant interaction information.

Keep in mind that these  apps also collect data about prescriptions you use. Eventually, the information will be tracked by your physician who can adjust your prescriptions, receive notifications about potential interactions, and obtain suggestions for alternative drugs that may be cheaper for the patient. It could also be used to help speed up the process of prior authorizations required by most insurance companies .

Final Thoughts on the Future of Smart Health Technology

Currently, medtech is using big data to help create a healthier future for us all. Soon we will have a one-stop-app that will not only track our health but, send recommendations to us for a healthier lifestyle and suggestions to our physicians to keep us living longer.

What health apps have you used and are any of them helpful to you? Is there a limit to the amount of data you feel should be collected and used with these apps?