Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related. Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health.
(BPT) - Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related, according to Forrester Research.
"Americans are using a variety of wearable devices to help them reach their wellness goals," says Mike Nohilly, an expert in wearable technology for Slendertone. Once, people would have needed a doctor's visit to find out key wellness numbers like BMI or blood pressure, or needed gym equipment to monitor their heart rates while exercising. Wearable devices allow them to do all those things, and even tone specific muscle groups, at their own convenience."
Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health:
* Fitness trackers - If it seems like everyone is wearing some kind of fitness tracker, you're not imagining it. The top wearable of 2015 was a fitness tracker that shipped more than 21 million units last year and represented nearly 38 percent of the wearables market, according to International Data Corporation. Fitness trackers allow wearers to monitor key health indicators such as heart rate or calories burned. You can also use them to set and track exercise goals, such as walking a certain number of steps per day, or monitor your heart rate while exercising to ensure you reach a target zone.
* Pain relief braces - Worn like traditional braces, smart braces use neurostimulation sensors, built into the fabric, to ease pain with low-level electrical impulses. Wearers rely on the bands to help relieve joint pain from chronic conditions like arthritis. Some come with a smartphone app that allows you to track usage and sleep patterns.
* Ab toner - Instead of spending hours in the gym doing crunches, you can enhance your workout by wearing a piece of technology that works to strengthen, firm and tone your abs. The Slendertone Connect Abs wearable belt uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to stimulate the major abdominal muscles, and can be worn and used at any time - even under your clothes. Users report visible results in six to eight weeks when used at least five days per week for 30 minutes. You can control this FDA-cleared device through an app on Android or Apple smartphones, and choose one of five goal-driven programs, from essential toning to post-natal and even advanced toning. The app also tracks and shares data on your progress. Visit www.slendertone.com.
* Sleep trackers - Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for overall health, so sleep trackers have gained popularity as aids to help people get better rest. Many types are available and some are wearable. Sleep trackers monitor such sleep metrics as REM phases, how long per night you spend in light sleep versus deep sleep, wake times, how quickly you fall asleep, what time you sleep each night and more.
* UV detector - An emerging form of wearable technology, UV detectors monitor skin exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation - the portion of sunlight that causes sunburn, tanning and skin cancer. Multiple versions are under development, and one commercially available detector is a small patch that you wear on your skin and then scan using your smartphone that's been equipped with a special app. The app allows you to read the information recorded in the patch so you know your UV exposure, and offers tips for sun safety, including what level SPF sunscreen you should wear.
"Many health care and tech industry watchers say the wearable health care device trend is really just getting started," Nohilly says. "Technology has great potential to help make it easier than ever to achieve our health and fitness goals, whether we want to get a better night's rest, improving cardio-vascular health or get toned abs."
(BPT) - Technology has influenced virtually every aspect of our lives. Arguably one of the biggest areas of change is in health care. From advanced surgical tools to early disease testing, every day new technology emerges in an effort to help people stay healthy and live longer. Wearable technology now puts information directly in the hands of the patient, helping people do everything from tracking steps to counting calories. Now, smartphone apps are getting even smarter, allowing physicians, patients and their loved ones if they choose, in-depth access to important health information in just a few finger taps.
Those in the diabetes community are embracing this new mobile technology enthusiastically to better manage their condition. Keeping a written logbook can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating for patients. Now, critical diabetes information is easier to manage and understand with the Accu-Chek Connect(R) Diabetes Management System.
With test results automatically sent from the Accu-Chek Aviva Connect meter to an app on your smartphone and an online portal, people with diabetes are able to log, view and share data anytime, anywhere, without ever writing in a logbook. Thus, never worrying about forgetting to bring this information to their physicians for important visits. Rarely do we forget our phones. They can be lifelines in more ways than one.
“The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect helps to create a sense of confidence for the person who is trying to self-manage their condition,” says Dr. David Robertson, MD of Atlanta Diabetes Associates. “It can help demystify diabetes and bring a sense of order to a very complex condition that is a constant burden to patients.”
The system allows users to have text results sent automatically, plus you can attach meal photos, view trends and even use the app’s insulin calculator. Considering 91 percent of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach, it’s simple to track important information quickly and efficiently.
Beyond patient empowerment, technology like this better facilitates the patient-doctor relationship. Because the system loads all information into an online portal stored in the cloud, it can be accessed at any time by the physician if the patient chooses. This means a snapshot of the bigger picture is always available, whether in-person at an appointment or while the patient is on the other side of the world.
What’s more, the doctor can activate an insulin calculator in the app, the Accu-Chek Bolus Advisor, which makes it simple for patients to calculate how much insulin is needed at each meal. That means patients can enjoy their meals without worrying about the math.
“Perhaps no community is better suited for this type of advanced technology than the diabetes community,” says Dr. Robertson.
“Knowledge is power. This detailed information is incredibly helpful to physicians so we can spot trends and make informed decisions along with the patient. Technology here is the tool to success.”
Learn more about how technology is transforming the diabetes community by visiting accu-chek.com/connect. Accu-Chek Connect is available at Walgreens, Rite Aid and select Kroger locations.
Certified Coders in High Demand After ICD-10 Implementation
(BPT) - Nine years ago, Peter Esswein, a resident of Sandy Springs, Georgia, enrolled in a health information technology degree program at DeVry University to capitalize on the growing prominence of electronic medical records.
"I always wanted to work in the medical industry, and the time was right for a personal career change," Esswein says. "Completing my associate degree in health information technology gave me the confidence and skills I needed to progress on my new career path.''
Now, as Esswein continues his career as a coding quality assistant, health care is changing again. Following the release of a medical coding system overhaul in October 2015, expected updates in the near future are underscoring the demand for coders. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, or ICD-10, increased the number of medical codes by more than 50,000 - and in fiscal year 2017, about 5,500 more diagnostic and impatient procedure codes will roll out.
"The new codes are designed to enable more informative, accurate recording of the medical information required to bill correctly for reimbursement," Esswein says. "In my role, it's essential that I not only understand ICD-10, but that I'm staying ahead of what's coming next to help alleviate any confusion in my workplace and mitigate mistakes in advance.''
Prepping for industry change
Many health care organizations say transitioning to the new system was their biggest challenge last year. While Esswein graduated years ago and is getting on-the-job training with the new system, many employers struggled to find qualified new technicians, since recent graduates had studied the previous classification system, ICD-9.
To get these new grads up to speed, DeVry University offered an ICD-10 course at no cost for medical billing and coding graduates who had registered by November 2015 and students in their last semester of the program. All future courses will be taught using ICD-10 as the standard.
"DeVry University programs will continue to evolve as healthcare advances and becomes more accessible in the United States," says Kristyn Murphy-Rodvill, assistant national dean in the College of Health Sciences at DeVry University. "We know finishing a degree program during an industry transition can create obstacles for recent grads. Our ICD-10 course is designed to eliminate those barriers and prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to be competitive in their field."
Propelling the future of health care
Knowledgeable health information technology experts - from coders to technicians and managers - are projected to remain in high demand through 2022. Medical billing is projected to grow by 22 percent in this time period.
"With the right education, the future is bright for healthcare professionals," says Murphy-Rodvill. "DeVry's programs are designed to help students grow their professional expertise, and remain at the forefront in their industry.''
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