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Need a Diagnosis or Checkup? Your Smartphone Is On Call

Aug '14

When Anna McCollister-Slipp was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1985, she was in a constant battle with the unknown. Her blood glucose levels could fluctuate dramatically – and unpredictably – due to stress, lack of sleep, even being stuck in traffic. These days, McCollister-Slipp feels more in control. She wears an insulin pump that can be adjusted quickly to compensate for eating or exercise, a continuous glucose monitor with a sensor embedded in her abdomen so she can see immediately what stressors cause her readings to jump, a standard glucose meter that she uses to take readings seven times a day, and a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure monitor. A digital scale tracks her weight, hydration level and percentage of body fat; and activity trackers monitor her exercise and sleep. A smartphone collects the key data on blood pressure and the readings from her digital scale and activity devices, so she can see how one factor influences another and adjust her behavior or medications accordingly. “I’m the chief executive of my own health,” she says, “and digital technology gives me a way to do that job much more precisely.”

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