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Self tracking, Sensors, and mHealth: Trends and Opportunities
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Self tracking, Sensors, and mHealth: Trends and Opportunities


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Mobile health (mHealth) offers the perfect platform to merge self-tracking communities and sensor technologies. Toss in the power of social networking capabilities, and you've put the trifecta of …

Mobile health (mHealth) offers the perfect platform to merge self-tracking communities and sensor technologies. Toss in the power of social networking capabilities, and you've put the trifecta of instantaneous 'track, share, and compare' at people's fingertips.

Published in: Health & Medicine

  • Very useful. Thanks for sharing
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  • I have now posted a sequel to this talk at:
    This talk includes 2 videos that illustrate high- and low-tech self-tracking.
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  • Good article
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  • Thank you for your kind comment. This is such a hot field and the technology is advancing very quickly. For those who are interested, I recently did a blog post as a sequel to this presentation that focuses on developments in smart clothes / e-textiles. See:
    - Carol
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  • great presentation
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  • Driven by 2 ends of a continuumWhere innovation occursPat and profs – lives may depend on the data
  • Screen print or weave into fabric
  • Takes less than 10 minutes[Radiofrequency (RF) energy]
  • Patterns, comparisonsGoal: Use data to predict, prevent, treat, manage
  • age, culture, language, literacy
  • uneduex, 157/365 Heeee. I have a waist now. And this girl with her newly found waistline must go to work.Christi Nielsen, Diet; Bark, 40+290 Notch So apparently all this crap about eating right and going to the gym is true! Sliding my belt in a notch. Yay me!
  • On January 1, 2011 10,000 thousand turned 65 Each day 10,000 more will turn 65 This will continue for the next 19 yearsBruce springsteen Richard Branson Madonna George Clooney Tom Cruise
  • – Basse papers – Dow Corning – employees self track as part of wellness program – give cash rewards, pool numbers to show company success, $ saved (mtg – bought fried chicken??!) 2008 survey; 77% large manufacturing employers offer a formal health and wellness program. - self tracking mecca!
  • World's biggest killers
  • Transcript

    • 1. Self-tracking, Sensors, and mHealth: Trends and Opportunities
      Carol E. Torgan, PhD., FACSM
      Kinetics Consulting :: From lab bench to park bench
      www.caroltorgan.comTwitter @ctorgan
      mHealth Networking Conference, March 2011
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 2. What is self-tracking?
      Who’s doing it?
      Why are we doing it?
      How do we do it?
      What do we do with the info?
      What’s next?
    • 3. “Finally: Self-Tracking is Cool Enough for Viral Advertising”
      information aesthetics. Where form follows data. Feb 15, 2011
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 4. “We can’t look at health in isolation.
      It’s not just in the doctor’s office.
      It’s got to be where we live, we work, we play, we pray.”
      – U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin,
      • LA Times, March 13, 2011
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 5. Self-tracking
      Tracking your life
      weight, exercise, diet, sleep,
      menstrual cycle, heart rate, mood, ….
      physiological, behavioral
      social, environmental
      Data-driven lifestyle
      Personal informatics
      Personal analytics
      Personal monitoring
      Living by numbers
      Quantified self Gary Wolf, Kevin Kelly
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 6. Who is tracking
      Acute and chronic health conditions
      Mental health …
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 7. Technology moves from edges inward
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 8. Who is self-tracking?
      Unpublished data courtesy of Susannah Fox, Pew Internet
      Pew Internet Project & California HealthCare Foundation national survey:
      15% of U.S. internet users have tracked their weight, diet, or exercise routine online
      17% of U.S. internet users have tracked any other health indicators or symptoms online
      Women internet users more likely than male users to do these activities
      Internet users who experienced a significant recent health change more likely to track (gain/lost weight, quit smoking, pregnancy)
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 9. Patients
      Event-driven trackers
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 10. Why track?
      “For many self-trackers, the goal is unknown.
      Although they may take up tracking with a specific question in mind, they continue because they believe their numbers hold secrets that they can’t afford to ignore, including answers to questions they have not yet thought to ask.”
      – Gary Wolf, The Data-Driven Life,
      The New York Times, April 26, 2010
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 11.
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 12. iChemoDiary
      Lose It!
      Pregnancy Tracker
      Mood Reporter
      Menstrual Calendar
      RunKeeper Pro
      Mole Measure
      Crohn’s Diary
      Glucose Buddy
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 13. What can be tracked vs. What should be tracked
      Source: PricewaterhouseCooper HRI survey, 2010
      PricewaterhouseCoopers, Healthcare unwired, Sept 2010
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 14. Sensor technology
      Tissue compatibility, safety
      Range, response time
      Sensitivity, specificity
      Clinically relevant information
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 15. Sensors that connect to the body

      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 16. Wearable sensors
      Attach to clothing or integrate into fabric
      e-fibers smart clothing interactive clothing
      e-textiles smart textiles interactive textiles
      e-fabrics smart fabrics
      Unobtrusive, direct skin contact
      Issues: friction, bending, stretching
      washable, light weight
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 17. Under Armour® / Zephyr E39 biometric compression shirt
      Removable electronic monitor (‘bug’)
      Heart rate
      Breathing rate
      Skin surface temperature
      Triaxial acceleration
      Real time data
      Monitor performance
      Share and compare
      Store on internal hard drive
      > handheld or laptop
      Debuted NFL combine Feb 2011
      Available to public 2012 (photo from Under Armour®)
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 18. Screen-print sensor onto fabric: Smarty pants
      Carbon sensor arrays on elastic band of underwear
      Tight contact, direct skin exposure
      Sensors survive large deformations
      Electrochemical detection of sweat
      (hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, lactate)
      Yang-Li Yang et al, Analyst, 135:1230-1234, 2010 (photo from Royal Society of Chemistry)
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 19. Ingestible core body thermometer pill
      Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab
      NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center
      Silicone coating, wireless telemetry
      Microminiaturized circuitry, microbattery
      Quartz crystal temperature sensor
      Pill in system 18 to 30 hours
      1988 Commercially available
      (research, university, military)
      1998 John Glenn used for medical experiments
      on Space Shuttle Discovery
      Applications: astronauts, athletes, firefighters
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 20. Heart Failure: CardioMEMS
      6 million heart failure patients in U.S.
      > 1 million hospitalizations each year
      $39 billion yearly direct cost of care
      Heart functions poorly, fluid builds-up
      Traditionally measure body weight
      Miniature wireless sensor
      MEMS = microelectromechanical system
      Permanently implant in pulmonary artery
      Transmits real-time pressure data
      Patients take daily readings
      Send to doctor (handheld or computer)
      Doctor modify meds = prevent hospitalization
      39% drop in hospitalizations in treated patients, shorter stays
      WT Abraham, et al, The Lancet, 377:658-666, 2011;
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 21. Data visualization
      How do we:
      Make the data tell a story?
      Use the data to educate and empower?
      Make the data actionable?
      Have the data answer questions
      that haven’t been asked?
      Data issues:
      Cause and effect vs. correlational
      False positives / false negatives
      Signal vs. noise
      Customize data vs. aggregate data
      Photo courtesy of Chris.T. (Eng) on Flickr
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 22. © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 23. Health Literacy
      —the degree to which a person can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
      Nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using everyday health information that is available in health care facilities, retail outlets, media, and communities.
      Innovations in Health Literacy - Workshop Summary
      March 10, 2011 Institute of Medicine Report
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 24. © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 25. Salt-o-meter
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 26.
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 27. ‘Weight loss’ on Flickr
      Photos courtesy of Flickr, clockwise L to R: uneduex, 157/365; Christi Nielsen, Diet;
      bark, 40+290 Notch; Vernon_White, Weight_Loss_Montage_2009-03-04_side
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 28. What to do with our data: Track, share
      Twitter: #Withings
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 29. Track, share, compare
      1in4internet users living with
      chronic conditions has looked online
      for someone with similar health concerns.
      Peer-to-peer Healthcare, Pew Internet, Feb 2011
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 30. Track, share, compare*, care
      Integrate data with health records & health care team
      PHRs & EHRs
      Case Study
      Personalized Medicine
      Biological Passport
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 31. Track, share, compare, publish: Data donorship
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 32. Opportunities: Baby Boomers
      ~78 million baby boomers
      ~56% have high willingness to use in-home health monitoring devices
      in tandem with care from their primary physician
      “Boomers want to shape the technology they use,
      unlike younger generations who allow their lives to be shaped by it.”
      – Michael Rogers, Practical Futurist, in MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest Report
      Key values & Key health issues
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 33. Corporations
      Workplace disease prevention & health promotion programs
      Amt spent on programs: $1.00
      Medical costs fall $3.27
      Absenteeism costs fall $2.73
      Health risk assessments
      Key interventions
      Baicker, K. et al, Health Affairs, 29(2):1-8, 2010
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 34. Data coaches
      Front line specialists:
      Diabetes educators
      Personal trainers
      School nurses
      When asked about the last time they had a health issue,
      70% of adults in the U.S. say they received information, care,
      or support from a health professional.
      –Peer-to-Peer Healthcare, Pew Internet, Feb 2011
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 35. Global: Noncommunicable diseases-NCDs(cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes, some cancers)
       ~35 million deaths a year
      60% of all deaths globally
      80% in low- & middle-income countries
      Half of deaths are in people under 70
      Twice (2x) the number of deaths as
      infectious diseases
      maternal and perinatal conditions
      nutritional deficiencies
      Up to 80% of heart disease, stroke,
      type 2 diabetes, & over a third of cancers
      are preventable!
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 36. The future of sensors
      Measure compressive stresses in spine
      Monitor CSF for biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease
      Monitor blood for medication concentrations
      Knee implants, stents, …
      Monitor our Microbiome
      Microbial cells : human cells = 10:1
      (10-100 trillion microbes in our intestine)
      Conditions that may be influenced:
      obesity, psoriasis, heart disease, asthma, IBS …
      “What used to take up a building
      now fits in my pocket,
      and what fits in my pocket
      will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years.”
      – Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 37.
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011
    • 38. Carol Torgan, PhD., FACSM
      Kinetics Consulting
      Twitter @ctorgan
      List of talk resources are posted at:
      © Carol Torgan, Ph.D. 2011