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The Social Way to Take Your Temperature

12.06.2013
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The possibilities in the field of mobile healthcare seem enormous.  In the UK at least, much of community health is delivered in a labour intensive way, with professionals either going out to households or patients coming into GP surgeries.  This rather inefficient approach to community health means many people slip through the gap.

I wrote over the summer about the Qualcomm sponsored X-Prize competition that was hoping to see a mobile monitoring device akin to the Tricorder device used in Star Trek.  The competition is still to reach its conclusion, but nevertheless there are some interesting new products emerging in this field.

One such is the Kinsa smart thermometer.  The Kinsa device aims to allow families both to track their health and analyse their symptoms.  It also has a social element, alerting families to any illnesses going around their part of town.

The thermometer is also able to connect up to a smartphone via the headphone port, with an accompanying app allowing the phone to act as a display for the device.

The core of the service offered is of course that of taking ones temperature, and despite the cutesy animation that plays whilst this is being done, that is fundamentally what the device remains.  Where it becomes useful however is what happens once if has your data.  If you’re temperature is outside of a normal range the device will begin asking you questions to see if you have any symptoms of common conditions, before delivering advice on appropriate action.

Parents can also call up a temperature history for each family member.  The really cool part comes when more people use the service.  For instance, if the device is used by the local school, parents can access the private school network to see if other children are coming down with illnesses, or if other people in the neighbourhood are.

The app gives recommendations on what they should do if their child is ill, such as taking them out of school or arranging a doctor’s appointment.

Kinsa themselves hope to crowdsource health related data to give people greater information, and therefore greater control over the health of the household.  The company hope to launch their product initially in New York City, San Francisco and a few other locations before expanding across Europe.  Here’s hoping they succeed.

You can learn a bit more about the product via the video demonstration they gave at this years New York Tech Meetup



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