I bought a FitBit last weekend. I’m telling myself it’s for professional research purposes, and entirely unrelated to any delicious overindulgences from December.
If you’re unfamiliar, FitBit is a tiny device that clips to your belt and tracks your movements 24/7, reporting on your activity level and sleep quality. It’s basically a souped-up, Kinect-era pedometer.
The FitBit wirelessly posts data to a website, updating regularly when you’re in range of its base station. From there, your data can be forwarded onto Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or – more interestingly – Microsoft’s HealthVault.
The effect is something we are striving for with our patient portal – increasing patients’ access to data about their body, health and activities. Lab test results buried in a chart don’t help patients to see the patterns in how their body is responding to their daily choices – medication adherence, lifestyle changes, continuing treatment – that are necessary to improve their health.
Simultaneously, we’re investigating ways to present detailed patient data to the next generation of connected health devices, to help caregivers see the day-to-day reality of their patients’ lives.
At the end of a day spent running from meeting to meeting and chasing after a three-year-old, I was chagrined to see that my activity level still registered as pretty low. However, I’ve now got a baseline and tomorrow I can make better choices.