Because of the ever growing ambiguity and cost of healthcare, people are losing faith in conventional medicine. But the trend of high costs and questionable results may soon be transformed by the quantified self movement. With smartphones on the rise and new sensors becoming ever cheaper, prevention and early response might soon have a new home in your hands. The human body is a treasure trove of information. Sleep, movement, posture, breathing, you name it--it all produces trackable data, and that data might be the key to solving the healthcare puzzle.
“By applying biosensors to the body, we can measure any physiologic metric.” Said DR. Eric Topol, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine. “That means you have this relatively comprehensive view of a patient that doctors can use to assess and manage disease, and that patients can use to help maintain their health and direct their own care. That is the essence of digitizing a human being. For medical purposes, it's getting all the essential data, and it will be the information to radically transform the future of medicine. ”
The future of medicine must solve several questions that plague the current industry, among them cost and patient compliance. Both of these questions could be solved by Self Analytics.
How Self Analytics will Change Healthcare.
Born out of the Quantified Self movement, Self Analytics takes data that is gathered from Quantified Self and makes it usable. In relation to the medical field, Self Analytics will provide individuals with the ability to see what is happening to their health and give feedback that enables users to improve overall wellbeing.
Most true Self Analytics apps on the market require purchasing additional equipment such as heart rate monitors, optimized scales, specialized pedometers, and tech savvy enthusiasts are creating their own tracker embedded products. But self analytics does not always require this specialized equipment.
One example of a quantified self app with the potential to provide self analytics is the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, the top paid app in much of Europe and Asia. Through analysing movement during sleep, it determines how deep of a sleep you are in and attempts to wake you during an optimal time period. It collects data on how long and well you slept, average sleeping patterns, bedtimes, and amount of time spent asleep. However, it doesn’t provide any Self Analytics capabilities. To become a Self Analytics app, Sleep Cycle needs to begin analysing the patterns and providing feedback to users to improve their sleeping patterns.
When Self Analytics truly takes hold and everything needed to monitor your health comes with your phone, then the future of diagnostic medicine --and the cost associated with it-- will be in the patients hands.
Changing a patient's behavior is one of the most perplexing questions in the medical field. Fear, self preservation, promises of long life, and everything else has been tried by doctors through the years to persuade people to lead healthier lives, but only one thing has really worked and it has been far too expensive.
“Now here's what does work: personalized information works.” Said Thomas Goetz at TEDmed 2011, “When you give people specific information about their health, where they stand, and where they want to get to, where they might get to, that notion of a path -- that tends to work for behavior change.” The future of behavior change and personalized health is centering on the idea of feedback loops: data made relevant, connected to choices, and monitorable.
Self analytics powered by smartphone connectivity answers the question of how to create effective feedback loops by putting the testing and information in the patients hands. Your sleeping patterns, heart, posture, and diet are just a few of areas that can be monitored 24/7 with current technology and inventors are working hard to expand this list.
With quantified self applications for medicine, the power to protect and perfect your health is right in your hands. Given current trends, the next 5 years should bring a full fledged proliferation and adoption of quantified self within healthcare.