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"To Infinity and Beyond!"
- Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story
If it takes a village to raise a child, then the village should stick around to make sure that child grows into a healthy adult - and then monitor the person throughout their life. Mobile health technologies are making this a real possibility.
On June 9, Don Schoen, president and CEO of BettrLife, presented his vision and solution for reaching this goal to the mHIMSS Mobile Task Force. Schoen holds a BA degree from Northwestern University and a Masters of Science from Michigan State University. He is one of the founding members of the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association (serving as chairman from November 2006 until July 2008) and has served on the advisory committee of HL7. In 2010 he started BettrLife, a health and wellness technology company focused on enabling others to have better performance, be healthier and save money through a set of personal coaching and life management tools.
Three key words (and components) rose to the top of his presentation: mobile, synchronization and cloud. And accordingly, BettrLife provides the platform for enabling these three technologies to work together to improve health and wellness.
Over the past two years the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices and the speed of development to devices in the hands of consumers has deeply impressed Schoen. BettrLife is the result of his 25- plus years in healthcare technologies, and serves as the platform for end users (consumers, customers, patients) to increase the data available to healthcare providers.
BettrLife is a platform that consists of a variety of widgets that allow end-users to collect and monitor a wide range of health and wellness information. Everything from grocery shopping lists to fitness activities and goals. This information may then be shared or available to a healthcare team (physicians, nurses, nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, etc.) to monitor and improve the health and wellness of individuals.
Grocery stores are notorious cell phone dead zones. Schoen's product has figured a way around this that combines the power of mobile and the utility of cloud-based services - synchronization.
Imagine the ability to download a fitness tracking app. Input your data while at the gym (asynchronous, because you've got no signal in the weight room), and then when you emerge from the gym, your smartphone transfers the data to your profile (synchronous, and synchronizing your information). Schoen refers to this process as the "graceful stepping down" of functionality. With device storage at a premium and the capability to temporarily store your data on your smartphone (or other mobile device), this scenario demonstrates the power of improving health and fitness monitoring and data capture at the right time and place, and still being able to reach your full profile and record - stored in the cloud.
Either it's a function of my age or generation, but when I think of the cloud the Microsoft commercials "to the cloud" pop into mind. The cloud (and I'm not a big fan of the term), however, is here to stay, at least according to the NIST. So, we might as well embrace the term ... and the concept. So, mobile health and wellness applications (like BettrLife) do their thing tethered or untethered to a storage device or other application. Magic happens, and the data is transferred from your smartphone through your storage (cloud), and your primary care provider could then have access to what you've been doing at the gym - and buying at the grocery store. There are a lot of big "ifs" in this scenario, and the middle part about "magic happening here" might be worth unpacking a little more. But mobile healthcare is starting to catch up to the rest of the service industries (think banking) in making these types of transactions thinkable and doable. BettrLife is a good example of this.
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