Yesterday I did my first ever Half Marathon in Dingle. Yes it nearly killed me and I had to walk lots of it but I finished and I had several hundred people behind me. Compared to some of my friends who regularly do Triathlons, my achievement is nothing special. But for someone who spent 20 years sedentary and started running in January, aged 41, with a gippy ankle and hugely overweight, I’m pretty proud of myself.
One application I have been using is CardioTrainer on my Android phone. It started as a pretty simple app but just gets better and better with each revision. It uses GPS to record distance, speed and elevation as you exercise. The most recent version finally has a “permanent account” feature so you can change phones and keep your exercise history. It saves everything on the phone and online. It also posts to Facebook which I love.
Last night whilst watching TV with my completely seized up left knee, I played a little more with it and suddenly discovered it has Google Health integration. This is a service that has always intrigued me but I had never used. Unlike many people, I would love to have a permanent online store of all my records that all my health providers would input to and read from. No more silos. My GP, various hospitals, physios etc could update and access what is appropriate to them.
So this afternoon I signed up for Google Health and connected CardioTrainer to it. I’ve been sitting here for the past hour looking at it with some “big ideas” bubbling around in my head. They are not quite formed but it goes something like this.
- Android phones will become ubiquitous in the next two years
- You can already get basic models for £100 un-subsidised in the UK
- CardioTrainer is free in its basic form. They just released a calorie counter app and have an inexpensive weigh-loss app
- Google Health is free
- There is some opportunity around tracking your exercise, eating, weight, etc and uploading via CardioTrainer to Google Health
- Your health professionals could track your progress and give advice, feedback and encouragement
- The HSE could hand out those phones and create a preventative care group for billions less than it costs to deal with the health problems related to obesity, diabetes, alcohol, heart disease, smoking etc etc etc. Hell they could even outsource the whole thing to Malaysia.
- Someone from FourSquare could help with gaming dynamics to build incentive systems into these apps to encourage people to get healthy
- Think “Operation Transformation” for everyone
- If Google wanted to do it themselves, they could finally find a practical use for Latitude.
Ok, so you can see where I am going with this. As I said, the idea isn’t fully formed but there is something valuable here centered around cheap mobile technology, the cloud and the health of our country.