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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 03 2019, @05:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'm-sure-insurance-companies-would-be-pleased dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337

Are fitness trackers the future of healthcare?

Imagine your fitness tracker vibrates on your wrist – but it’s not because you’ve reached your 10,000 steps goal for the day or because you’ve received an email. Instead, your tracker is warning you that your blood pressure is high, your doctor has seen the stats in real-time and they want you to de-stress. Or maybe an analysis of your sweat is showing you’re a little too dehydrated. Or maybe the air around you is full of allergens and could set off your asthma.

The sensors within our fitness trackers have improved greatly in recent years. We now have more accurate heart rate monitors, accelerometers to detect the smallest changes in movement and positioning, and even ECG sensors in devices like the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Amazfit Verge 2 to flag up issues with our hearts.

But many experts believe this is just the beginning and soon our fitness trackers will be packed with an even wider range of sensors to collect data that could, potentially, save our lives, diagnose illnesses and keep our doctors constantly updated.


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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 03 2019, @08:11AM (2 children)

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday October 03 2019, @08:11AM (#902193) Homepage
    You're reading too much into the question. It's not whether such devices are the be all and end all of healthcare, merely whether they have enough benefit that they will become a standard part of healthcare that they will become as common as other things that we now consider entirely unexceptional. There was a day only 150 years back when clinical thermometers were not commonplace, for example, and blood pressure cuffs date back only 120 years.

    However, in the same way that that old tech changed a fair bit before widespread adoption, there's a good chance that these modern devices will too (compare how they measured blood pressure in the 1700s, it's pretty crude). When I see a device called "Amazfit" anything, the first thing that goes through my head is "that exists purely to track me for the benefit of advertisers or government agencies who I don't want to have access to that information". If such paranoia and big-tech mustrust catches on, perhaps there will be an international law that forces all medical hardware to not have any features not necessary for its medical function, and also to be open source, so that such claims can be verified by anyone. And once there's no mistrust in these things (I'm sure "you're not sticking that up my butt" stopped the thermometer from catching on too), there's no reason not to use them if they have some benefit, even if small, if the cost/overhead isn't great, and given that they're small and cheap now, they'll only get smaller and cheaper.

    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Thursday October 03 2019, @08:25AM (1 child)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 03 2019, @08:25AM (#902197) Journal

    If such paranoia and big-tech mustrust catches on

    I don't know about that mushtrust, but a healthy bit of paranoia never caused any harm.
    Now, about that 'healthy bit of paranoia': nope, you can't.track it, you'll only raise it at unhealthy levels if you try. A clear case of measurement affecting the measured.

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    • (Score: 3, Touché) by ewk on Thursday October 03 2019, @09:27AM

      by ewk (5923) on Thursday October 03 2019, @09:27AM (#902211)

      Besides... even if you're not paranoid, it does not mean they are not out to get you after all.... :-)

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