Sunday 25 September 2016

The future of health… at our fingertips

Published 20/04/2015 | 08:50

2015 is set to be a huge year for ‘health tech’ in Ireland with more cutting-edge health and fitness wearables, devices and apps due to be launched this year.

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Technology has totally transformed our approach to health in Ireland and now enables us to take personal control by tracking our health from day to day, and even minute-by-minute, allowing us to manage our health on the go.

Let’s take a look at four recent developments:

(1) Smartwatches for Health and Fitness

The new Apple Watch with health and fitness tracking features will be available in Europe at the end of April, CEO Tim Cook announced at the launch in San Francisco.  Last year 6.8 million smartwatches were sold across the world from Samsung, Sony, Pebble and other manufacturers and this is now Apple’s first move in to the wearables market. Cue mass hysteria among Apple fans.

(2) Wearable Technology

Microsoft, which now has over 1,200 employees in Ireland, recently launched a fitness device called 'Microsoft Band' that enables users to track their fitness and exercise, launching their first foray  into wearable technology and accompanying it with a ‘Microsoft Health’ app. The band helps wearers to achieve their wellness goals by tracking heart rate, steps, calorie burn and even sleep quality.

(3)  Smart Phones and Tablets As Medical Accessories

Apple has moved another step further into health by launching a new health diagnostic service called Research Kit. The system will be used to help diagnose conditions such as Parkinson’s, diabetes and asthma. The system aims to develop iPhones and iPads into medical diagnostic accessories. The system, which is open source, will be launched for developers next month.

(4) Innovation in Health Insurance

In a first for the health insurance industry in Ireland, an innovative new ‘CareOnCall’ service has been launched by laya healthcare, allowing customers unlimited access to a GPline, Nurseline and Physioline for expert diagnostic and treatment advice over the phone. The Physioline is particularly clever and practical; the service allows members to receive exercises and treatment advice without the need for a face to face consultation (so saving you money on your consultation visit). It’s easy to use, members simply access a specially developed app to view personalised physiotherapy exercise videos on their smartphones.  The app guides users on how to do the exercises correctly and keep tabs on daily progress. CareOnCall is available on a selection of laya healthcare hospital schemes, including its latest low-cost Assure First scheme which is priced at less than €8 a week.  This scheme is designed to help get younger first time buyers on the health insurance ladder before Lifetime Community comes into force after 30th April. See https://www.layahealthcare.ie/ for more.

The future of health … at our fingertips.

 

 

 

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