iPhone 6: Lifesaver? Apple's Integration into the Health Care Market
With the live stream of the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus release taking place today, there is a lot of buzz in regards to the larger screen sizes, dramatically slimmer model and curved cover glass. What you should be excited for, however, is the plethora of health-related features that will come with the launch on September 19.
As Apple puts it, “it’s a comprehensive health and fitness companion.”
Patient-Doctor File Sharing
Out of the 1.3 million apps available on the iPhone, one of the most impressive is HealthKit. The application, which can also monitor your caffeine intake and heart rate, gives patients the capability of sending compiled data to doctors.
All-Day Fitness Tracker
“The Apple Watch is designed to help anyone who wears it lead a healthier life by being more active,” said Jay Blahnik. Integrated with the HealthKit platform, the Apple Watch measures three aspects of movement: Move, Exercise and Stand.
Real-Time Workout Statistics
The Workout app on the Apple Watch displays real-time stats such as calories, time, distance and pace for individual workouts. You can set goals, chart your progress and earn awards as you track specific workouts such as walking, running and cycling.
Heart Rate/Pulse Monitoring
Infrared and visible-light LED’s, along with photosensors, on the Apple Watch detect a wearer’s heart rate. The tracking and storage of an individual’s heart rate and pulse information in BPM (beats per minute) could prove invaluable to those who suffer from arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.
Another equally as impressive app is Healthbook. Of its three primary tabs dedicated to fitness tracking is weight. Statistics like BMI (Body Mass Index) and body fat percentage can be calculated upon entering your height and weight and progress can be tracked daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
Said app can also monitor what you put in your mouth and how it affects your overall health. Keeping a log of your diet choices will also allow users to make changes where needed and be conscious of the choices they are making.
Blood Sugar (Glucose) Tracking
Approximately 26 million individuals in the United States have diabetes, according to a 2013 statistic from the American Diabetes Association. The application Healthbook offers the option to track a user’s blood sugar levels and notify him/her of any unusual spikes or drops.
Emergency Contact Information Storage
A feature in the Healthbook app allows users to store their name, birthdate, medication information, weight, eye color, blood type, organ donor status and location. This information is critical for an emergency technician, doctor or hospital staffer who may need to identify and treat a patient if they fall ill and are unable to speak for themselves.
A barometer rooted in the iPhone 6’s system will be able to sense air pressure and measure relative elevation, determining if you are going up molehills or mountains.
Sleep Cycle Monitoring
Healthbook will have the ability to track sleep cycles and, based on rumors, be able to produce algorithms to track movement during sleep and provide users with graphs to present sleep quality over time.
Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”