Smart Technologies Help Patients Manage Their Care

Imagine putting your meal on a special plate. Its built-in scales and cameras identify your food and its quantity, and then send nutritional information to your smartphone. It may sound like science fiction, but such a product will be shipping soon! Now add a twist for patients. If you have diabetes, an app could tell you how much insulin to take. If you want to lose a few pounds, your phone may alert you to calorie intake. If you have chronic kidney disease, you could get information about potassium and sodium intake, and a reminder to take a certain amount of phosphate binder.

Health trackers so far have focused mostly on fitness, activity, and weight. Adding in networked instruments like blood pressure cuffs and nutritional supports can allow smartphones to become a hub for health management, especially for those with chronic disease. Digital information can then be shared with health care providers to improve patient education and adherence. Look for lots of progress in this arena in the next few years.