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Every four years, the world watches while athletes gather to represent their country by competing in a host of Olympic games. While most people are looking to London this year to enjoy these amazing feats of sheer physical determination, others will be focusing on a lesser known event - the Mobile Health Games.
That's right. London may have its sports superstars this summer, but a strip mall in Moline, Ill., will host this year's best of the best in mobile health. Equipped with smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, GPS and a selection of biometric monitors, these games will be played not by athletes, but by those interested in health and wellness, fitness and managing chronic conditions.
In the weeks before the games, runners will relay an iPhone showing the Zippo lighter app as it makes its way from Cupertino, Calif., to the games in Moline. Upon its arrival, it will connect to a large LCD display showing the iconic flame, signaling the opening of the games. Musical entertainment at the opening ceremonies will be provided by the Free Credit Score Band. The Olympics may have their medal ceremonies, but these competitors will vie for something equally valuable; free downloads from the iTunes App Store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile and the Android Market, as well as the honor of having their country's flag flown at the north end of the shopping center, right between the American flag and the Quiznos BaconFest Tuesdays banner. As we go to press, television rights are still being negotiated, with C-SPAN the primary contender in an effort to shore up their programming during the Congressional recess.
Assuming the mobile health games do get televised, here's a sampling of what you can expect to see.
Hawaiian Hula-Hoop Hurl
Competitors consume a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch that includes kalua pork, rice and macaroni salad, and wash it down with one liter of Hawaiian Punch. Immediately afterwards, and equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled activity monitors, they Hula-Hoop down the sidewalk. Participants continue until the first one, ahem, loses that lunch (hence the name of the competition) at which point the burned calories of the remaining participants are measured.
Texting Trot (also known as the SMS Sprint)
Participants will be outfitted with blinders and must send five text messages to five different physicians describing a pre-assigned current condition, all while negotiating their way from one end of the shopping center to the other, and must do so without bumping into anyone or anything. No abbreviations permitted but extra points awarded for inclusion of emoticons.
Sue's Suggestive Shuffle
In this event, competitors are equipped with GPS-connected heart rate monitors. They then follow a prescribed route through Sue's Playground - an adults-only video emporium located on the back side of the mall, toward the airport access road. Competitors must make their way on a prescribed route through the store, all the time monitoring their heart rate on their mobile device and maintaining a pre-set range through the use of biofeedback techniques. Points are deducted for those who traverse the course too fast, as well as those who linger for too long. No participants under 18 years of age are permitted. Those with pre-existing cardiac conditions must sign a waiver.
Signal Scavenger Hunt
Competitors must complete a set of tasks on their mobile devices, including making an appointment with their primary care provider, requesting a prescription refill and updating biometric data in a PHR, and then rescheduling their appointment. The twist is that Wi-Fi and cellular signals will intermittently be jammed at different locations within the shopping center, forcing competitors to scurry around looking for signal and complete a task before it gets jammed again. Additional challenges will include an active and full parking lot, freshly mopped areas and political, social and religious groups actively soliciting donations.
Capture the Flagyl
Participants will follow a trail of pills, capsules and tablets. Using only mobile apps, they must identify each one and its generic name, which will then provide clues as to which way to turn next. They must make their way to the final stage, where they will be handed a patient profile and must then determine the correct dose of Flagyl (Metronidazole Oral) to be administered for their patient. This year's games will follow U.S. rules (as opposed to the International Medication Maze Convention) in which some placebos will be used, including M&M Minis and Reese's Pieces. Points deducted for any placebos consumed along the way.
Can't make it to Moline this year? Then look to Metuchen, N.J., as the host city of the 2016 Mobile Health Games.
(Author's Note: Thanks to Peter Cucchiara for suggesting an Olympics-themed piece.)
The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer.
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