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Quantify Your Life: Popular Tools in Digital Medicine

By Leslie Minora featured image Matt Rainwaters

The most popular tools of the “quantified self,” as the digital medicine trend is commonly called, are fitness trackers that analyze sleep and activity. Other devices offer blood glucose monitoring, cardiovascular monitoring, and more.

You can read more about these mobile devices in the full story, “You Are Your Data.” Here are a few that are available now or are coming soon:

  • iBGStar: The iBGStar is a blood glucose monitor by Sanofi Diabetes that connects to the iPhone or iPod touch. As with traditional blood glucose monitors, patients prick their finger and apply a drop of blood to a test strip that is analyzed by the device. With iBGStar, the reading is stored in an app on the device, where patients can track their glucose, insulin, and carbohydrates and analyze trends over time. Information from the app can be easily shared with doctors to better manage diabetes care. The device costs $70 to $75, and test strips are sold separately. (1/8)
  • Corventis’ AVIVO Mobile Patient Management System: This device looks like a Band-Aid, but thicker, and it adheres to the chest for continuous cardiovascular monitoring to detect, prevent, and treat a variety of heart conditions. The wireless system tracks various vascular readings — including fluid status, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate, posture, and activity — and transmits them wirelessly to doctors, allowing a patient to go about his or her daily activities. (2/8)
  • WellnessFX: WellnessFX is essentially a mobile health dashboard. Patients can either upload their own lab results or obtain a lab order through this service and receive biomarker data within a week. The WellnessFX dashboard can be viewed on any computer or mobile device, and patients can visualize blood test results over time with descriptions of biomarkers to analyze their health. Packages range from $78 to $988, and personalized consultations are also available. (3/8)
  • Jawbone UP: This fitness tracker is worn around the wrist and tracks sleep and steps per day. The information is compiled in a smartphone app that generates charts and graphs to display your activity for easy analysis. Users can also log food, drinks, and exercise. The UP 24 version connects wirelessly to the app, and the UP version uploads data through a USB connection. (4/8)
  • Fitbit: Fitbit fitness devices track steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep. There are three versions: the Flex, which is a bracelet that you can also use to set goals; the Zip, which can be clipped to clothing or carried in your pocket but does not have the sleep or silent alarm feature; and the One, which can also be worn like a bracelet and can assess how many floors you’ve climbed. (5/8)
  • Metria Wearable Sensor: Billed as the golden ticket for people who want a detailed picture of their health-related habits but aren’t interested in wearing a device long term, this product is a disposable sticky patch that stays on the body for about a week. It measures sleep, activity, heart rate, respiration rate, and calories burned, and the information is uploaded through a USB connection. The idea is to record your habits for a week to learn what needs to be addressed. It is available on a limited basis through select partnerships but is planned for wider consumer release. (6/8)
  • AliveCor Heart Monitor: This device is a smartphone case with sensors that convert electrical impulses from a user’s fingertips into ultrasound signals, which are transmitted through the phone’s microphone. It allows patients with heart issues, as well as health-conscious technophiles, to monitor their heart health anywhere. (7/8)
  • Colorimetrix: This app analyzes colorimetric test strips, which change color in the presence of different solutions and are commonly used in testing urine for certain biomarkers. Users take a photo of the used test strip, and the app displays the concentration of the material being tested, which can then be stored or sent to a doctor for diagnosis. The Munich-based developer hopes to release the app by the end of the year. (8/8)