How will mobile health records improve your care?

Your doctor doesn’t really care about your health stats: knowing that you’ve met your goal of walking 10,000 steps every day doesn’t really give a medical professional a reason to sit up and pay attention. As long as you’re continuing to stay in good health, your fitness records are probably only interesting to you (even if they’re invaluable for improving your own performance).

Instead, doctors are interested in your medical records — and the technology that may make those records truly portable.

The Real Reason Doctors Care About Healthkit

Doctors are particularly interested in Apple’s new Healthkit app because of their interest in better handling patients’ records. While the app seems like a Quantified Self adherent’s dream, there are subtle indications that Apple is thinking much better. While screen caps of the Healthkit app show that it will pull together fitness data under one roof, they also show tools for the following information:

  • What medications the user takes
  • The user’s vital signs
  • The user’s lab results
  • Diagnostic data and tools

While this data is clearly useful for individual users who want to manage their own health better, doctors and other medical professional may find it equally useful.

Right now, if your current doctor wants to know what tests your last doctor conducted, the odds are pretty good that she’ll have to contact that doctor’s office for the information — and may have to wait for … Read More

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Categories: Apple, Data, Health

IFTTT Recipes for Outdoor Enthusiasts

By / July 25, 2014 /

Go outside and play! And make sure to tell your family, keep a digital archive, and announce it on Twitter without taking your phone out of your pocket. Today’s IFTTT recipes are for those of you who would rather be kicking back at the beach, hiking a trail, or summiting a volcano. Now you can announce visits to hotspots on Twitter, tell your family where you’re hiking, and log your time outdoors on your Jawbone UP.

In addition to these Saga recipes, check out other IFTTT recipes for Nature Lovers.

Broadcast my beach visits on Twitter
IFTTT Recipe: Broadcast my beach visits on Twitter connects saga to twitter

Log my time outdoors on my Jawbone UP IFTTT Recipe: Log my time in the Great Outdoors connects saga to up-by-jawbone

Tell my family when I visit a hiking trail
IFTTT Recipe: Tell my family when I'm at a hiking trail connects saga to life360

Keep track of my Great Outdoors visits IFTTT Recipe: Keep track of my Great Outdoors visits connects saga to google-drive

Categories: Uncategorized

Fluxstream: A Better Tool for Data Exploration

By / July 24, 2014 /

Fluxstream can display data in a number of ways.

With all the gadgets and apps that keep coming out, it’s pretty clear that we’ve figured out how to effectively collect plenty of data. But actually using that data is proving a more complicated problem at every level. Even figuring out the best tools for using our own data has proven difficult. At least part of the problem may be a question of how we even think about data collection.

Building a Better Process

Anne Wright spoke at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference, covering briefly what the team at Fluxstream is doing to support data exploration. As Wright explains, the default process for a Quantified Self process seems to be:

  1. Gather all the data you can.
  2. ?
  3. Change your life for the better.

Even within the experienced Quantified Self community, there’s serious trouble in determining what that second step might look like. Predicting what steps might be necessary to improve upon a particular part of your life, especially based on data you may not have collected yet, is difficult at best. So charging ahead into collecting all the data you can think of seems like a logical option. But, as more data accumulates, dealing with it becomes more daunting. Even just analyzing it can be a major hassle.

Incremental approaches offer a necessary alternative. Wright offers an improved process:

  1. Gather some data.
  2. Reflect on the data you have.
  3. Adapt your ideas and strategies based on … Read More

    Categories: API, Apps, Data Visualization

How Wearable Technology Can Improve Government

By / July 22, 2014 /

What technology would you like to see the government adopt?

It's tempting to restrict the conversation about how a government can use technology to the ethical questions of what technology a governmental agency can use to collect information about its citizens, but there are many more factors worth discussing in the broad category of what technology a government can consider.

How Wearables Can Be Useful for Governments

Wearable technology has the potential to improve many of the functions that a government agency carries out: whether we're talking about the federal, state, or municipal levels, the opportunities are endless.

Consider the work done at the U.S. State Department. That particular agency relies on translators as it works with countries around the world. But a tool like Google Glass could improve communication across cultural barriers – helping interpret gestures and provide context on top of what a human translators does.

Emergency management presents another interesting opportunity for wearable technology in a governmental setting. Emergencies tend to require more rugged technology than other settings — something that some wearable companies are already thinking about. But users in the middle of an evacuation or another crisis would also benefit from hands-free gadgets and ways to keep in contact with a centralized communication system.

Given how many different parts of life that touch governmental processes, it's hard to even predict how wearable technology could help. What uses would a health inspector have for collecting data? What … Read More

Categories: Surveillance, Tracking, Wearable Technology

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Healthy Living Reminders

By / July 20, 2014 /

Saga knows when you’re at the bar and the fast food restaurant. Give a gift to your future self: set up healthy living reminders to stay on track. Too much time at the bar? Make sure your friends give you a ride home. Enjoying some fast food? Remind yourself to go to the gym!

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to drink some water if I'm at a bar for 2 hours. connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to put on sunscreen if I'm outside for 2 hours.  connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to get some exercise when I eat fast food. connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Ask for a ride home if I've been drinking for 2 hours. connects saga to facebook

Categories: IFTTT

Lifelogging’s Impact on Your Quality of Life

By / July 17, 2014 /

What does quality time look like for you?

Some people enjoy tracking numbers just for the sake of collecting data, but that sense of accomplishment isn't enough for many of us. Rather, collecting data to achieve a deeper purpose makes the process more worthwhile. That purpose can vary, but almost always fits inside the broad category of improving your quality of life in one way or another.

The more you can focus your lifelogging efforts to improve your own self-knowledge, the more likely you are to be able to improve your quality of life.

The Subjectivity of Our Lives

Of course, defining your own quality of life is subjective: we each have different goals, as well as ideas of what constitutes a perfect life. Where one person sees traveling as the most enjoyable way to spend time, another may prefer to stick a little closer to home.

To make matters more complicated, not all of us are entirely clear on what we want to be doing, both long term and in the moment. But the right approach to lifelogging can help with that particular problem. If you're able to track multiple aspects of your life over time, you can discover what contributes to your personal sense of a high quality of life.

Unfortunately, it's not a system that you can just throw a switch on. Even just deciding which variables to track can be a complex matter.

How … Read More

Categories: Happiness, Lifelogging, Personal Analytics

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Automate Your Business Tasks

By / July 16, 2014 /

Several Saga users have told us how they use Saga for their businesses. Some use Saga as an automatic mileage log. A piano tuner keeps track of his visits to customers. An EMT keeps notes about his ambulance calls.

Now, with the Saga Channel on IFTTT, there are even more ways to automate your business tasks. Here are a few examples of Recipes you might use:

IFTTT Recipe: Add an event to my calendar when I visit an office. connects saga to google-calendar

IFTTT Recipe: Mute my ringtone when I arrive at an office. connects saga to android-device

IFTTT Recipe: Tweet when I arrive at a conference or tradeshow. connects saga to twitter

IFTTT Recipe: Alert me when I've been at an office for 8 hours.  connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Log visits to offices of more than one hour. connects saga to google-drive

IFTTT Recipe: Get a phone call 30 minutes after arriving at an office, to keep ... <span class=Read More

Categories: IFTTT

A FitBit for the Dog? How Wearable Technology Can Help Animals

By / July 15, 2014 /
cat and dog

What technology makes sense for your pets?

Cats, dogs, and other pets don't have the option of telling you straight out when something is the matter. The difficulty of communicating with your pets makes wearable technology for animals an incredibly useful field. We're only starting to explore the opportunities that technology provide for the animals in our lives.

Pet Wearables to Improve Your Pets' Lives

While technology doesn't let you read a dog's mind (at least not yet), you can use wearable technology to collect and interpret data from your pet. Consider the FitBark, which is essentially a FitBit meant for dogs. The devices collects data about a dog's daily activity levels, allowing owners to make sure that their dogs are living healthy lives. The app that handles all the data even helps owners compare their dogs to others of the same breed to better understand how an individual pup is doing.

This data may seem like it's mostly just for fun, perhaps adding in a reminder to spend time with your pet, the reality is that as more data is available to tools like FitBark, you may be able to use it to take better care of your pets. With a large data set, such a device could warn you if your pet's activities have suddenly changed — which can be a crucial indicator of a health problem — or recommend a better diet for … Read More

Categories: Health, Pets, Wearable Technology

Kitty Ireland Wins Saga

By / July 14, 2014 /
Kitty Ireland, writer of amazing content, product designer and bug smasher extraordinaire, has officially won Saga with 1,000 followers through Saga social media. No one has as many followers as Kitty because no one is that cool.

kitty ireland 1000 friends

How did she get so many followers? Is it the hipster bars she visits every week like Sun Liquor? Coveted concerts such as New Order and Kraftwerk? The see-and-be-seen events such as Seattle International Film Festival exclusive gala?

Everybody wants to know what Kitty is doing, because Kitty is doing it right.

If you’re not following her on Saga, you have not yet mastered the art of living vicariously through someone cooler than you.

Follow her here.

Categories: Community, Family, Saga, Social, Social Lifelogging

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Create an Evernote Travel Diary

By / July 14, 2014 /

Saga can be a great tool for travelers on its own, but now with the Saga channel for IFTTT there are even more ways to track and share your adventures.

I love to travel, but I never find time (or remember) to write down all of the interesting places I visit. Saga makes it easy to go back and see all of my travels, but I like to keep an additional travel diary in Evernote, where it’s searchable, and I can easily draft blog posts, add links, etc.

Now I can automatically log my visits to interesting places to Evernote by using the Saga Channel on IFTTT. I created a notebook called ‘Travel Diary’ and the following recipes to keep a record of places I go according to category:

IFTTT Recipe: Add restaurants I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add bars I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add the places I go shopping to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add museums I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

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Categories: IFTTT