HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE MADE AVAILABLE TO, AND USED BY, THE INDIVIDUAL?
Nearly all of these devices can transfer the information directly to a portable smartphone. As such, the smartphone is soon to become the information control system for managing your health status. The information is processed and then can be fed back to the user in a variety of fashions in real-time. These include daily reminders to perform activities, weekly and monthly summaries, positive feedback when personal records (such as miles run) are achieved, and negative feedback when falling below personal milestones. The bioanalyte devices are particularly interesting because they will enable people to see exactly how they react to specific foods. If a banana or other food causes a rapid increase in glucose in a particular person, that can be easily tracked and flagged, and a person can avoid or reduce intake of such food in the future. In this fashion the smartphone will become even more of a valuable accessory and may even control many aspects of our lives.
These sensors and information systems will go well beyond physiologic parameters. Efforts are now underway to develop applications and programs that will be able to read communications (e.g., e-mail) and other activities (Internet browsing) to monitor psychological states such as depression or anxiety, and may help in the early diagnosis of diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Information systems that measure young children may enable early detection of autism and early intervention—such efforts using video recording are already underway. Integration of these behavioral activities and information with other types of genetic and molecular information will be extremely valuable in helping to actively manage personal health. The acquisition of such information will enable medicine to shift from managing and treating disease, to instead predicting a person’s disease risk and early detection of events, thereby allowing the individual to stay as healthy as possible prior to full blown disease manifestation.