Specialist analysts trendwatching.com have issued
“12 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2012"
In at number 2 is DIY health with some
fascinating ideas that some insurers may want to take up.
DIY goes good for you in 2012: novel apps and
devices will increasingly let consumers discreetly track and manage their
health by themselves.
The Do It Yourself trend is not going to slow
down in 2012. Now, there are two kinds of DIY: the kind most consumers hate and
the kind they love. For 2012, the latter category will show endless innovation
driven by technology, which in turn feeds off a never-ending desire among
consumers to be in control. Countless new apps and devices are actively
targeting consumers keen on preventing, examining, improving, monitoring and
managing their health. Apple’s App Store currently offers 9,000 mobile health
apps (including nearly 1,500 cardio fitness apps, over 1,300 diet apps, over
1,000 stress and relaxation apps, and over 650 women’s health apps) and by
mid-2012, this number is expected reach 13,000.
Other positive implications for consumers
tracking their own state of health include less necessity for potentially
intrusive and embarrassing trips to the doctor, or for those that do need
medical attention and supervision, a much more convenient and accessible way
for their doctor to keep a remote eye on any troublesome conditions or changes.
Released in November 2011, Jawbone’s Up is a
wristband personal tracking device that tracks a user’s moving, eating and
sleeping patterns. The device syncs with an iPhone app, and users can set the
device to vibrate when they have been inactive for a period, compete against
friends and even earn real life rewards for completing activity challenges.
Pain Free Back, an interactive back pain relief
product, lets users enter specific data as they’re taken on a guided discovery
about their back pain. Exercise solutions are offered afterwards.
The Play It Down app enables users to test their
hearing. The app offers several interactive features including 'The Ear Knob'
that lets friends compare who can hear the highest frequencies, and 'The Volume
Zone' which measures sound volume in decibels.
The Digifit Ecosystem is a suite of Apple apps
designed for those with an active lifestyle. It can record heart rate, pace,
speed and power. Data can also be uploaded to and managed via training sites
such as Training Peaks and New Leaf.
Withings' Blood Pressure Monitor plugs into an
iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch and takes the user’s blood pressure. Data can be
sent directly to a doctor or published (confidentially) on the Web.
Skin Scan is an app that allows users to scan and
monitor moles over time, with the aim of preventing malignant skin cancers. The
app tells users if a visit to their doctor or dermatologist is advisable.
Lifelens has created a smartphone app to diagnose
malaria. The app can analyze a magnified image of a drop of blood (captured via
a simple finger prick) and identify malarial parasites.
October 2011 saw US automotive company Ford
demonstrate three apps offering in-car health monitoring. The sample apps use
Ford’s SYNC Applink software to enable drivers to access certain mobile health
apps while driving to keep track of chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma
and hay fever.
In October 2011, AT&T announced it will begin selling clothes
embedded with health monitors, able to track the wearer's vital signs
(including heart rate and body temperature) and upload them to a dedicated
website. And nonprofit the X Prize Foundation is co-sponsoring a $10 million
award for the best mobile device allowing consumers to diagnose their own
Health cash plan news: 15 December 2011