My week of quantified self: day three

Lazy day

Day three of my quantified self week with Health Vault is upon me, up until now I’ve been doing great, but after a good couple of sessions at the gym earlier in the week, I’ve had a lazy turn. Last night I managed to get through two(!) movies from the Matrix trilogy (which only means today I must watch the final movie) and I’ve been firmly sat at my desk all day, getting too few steps according to my pedometer, which shows 5k, when my target is 18k!

There is a benefit to spending the day like Homer Simpson (yes, a donut has been involved, this will show on the WiFi scales no doubt) I have been reading up on the full features of Health Vault and there are some great aspects I’ve come across.

I’ve largely been using Health Vault to help reach fitness goals, using a pedometer to track activity, blood pressure monitor to check the impact of this and WiFi scales to see if it helps me lose weight. But looking at the case studies on the site, you can do much more.

The tool can be used for managing chronic conditions. In Henry’s case study on the site, you can read how he used a blood glucose monitor to track his diabetes. This information was then synced to Health Vault, which he shared with his doctor. It allows for immediate feedback and reduced time having to go see his GP in person.

Another case study is how you can use Health Vault to provide the emergency services with all they would need, in case of a serious incident. By filling out the ‘prepare for an emergency’ section of the website, you can print out an ‘in case of emergency’ card to carry with you, plus if you have a chronic condition and wear a medical alert bracelet, you can give the company access to pull up the latest medical data from Health Vault, so that first responders may get the latest up to date information they need.

There are a further two case studies on the site, showing how you can look after family with the tool. One highlights how an entire family’s medical information can be organised within Health Vault – with multiple family members under one account, allergies recorded, medication taken and even medical scans or reports kept within the app. All can be viewed on the Windows Phone app too, wherever you are. The other case study shows how the tool can be used to care for an elderly family member, sharing information between siblings so each can check on their elderly parents medical data and update their file – essential in case of an emergency or visit to the GP.

It’s really interesting to see the variety of ways people are using Health Vault, and has made me realise that I am not making the most of the tool by simply tracking my activity. Tonight I’ll be updating the allergies and medical data sections too and share this with my emergency contacts – it won’t take long and perhaps one day I’ll be thankful I did it (although, fingers cross, hopefully not).

David Clare
Microsoft Health Team

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