Can you "virtually" improve your health?
Technological advancements in the health and medical field mean that robots can now perform the most difficult surgeries, and a band on your wrist can help diagnose cardiac conditions or the likelihood of developing chronic disease. But does all this mean that we can do away with the need for fitness, health and medical experts?
Many of those experts would be quick to shout down claims that technology is getting closer to providing a similar experience and outcome to what they offer, and what took them years of training to acquire. After all, there are no longitudinal studies on this technology let alone it’s use in behaviour change, education, motivation etc.
Recent studies utilising tools like Skype, SMS, Virtual Reality and Fitness Trackers have been very promising. They include:
Virtual Reality headsets that simulate challenging scenarios or environments for falls prevention and injury rehabilitation (results pending)
2 SMS’s per week were enough to help postnatal women increase their exercise by an average of 2 sessions per week.
Skyping with a partner during a bout of aerobic activity was enough to increase duration by 20%
Wearables like Fitbits etc. when coupled with a lifestyle intervention have shown an average weight loss of 6kg over a 24 month period.
These results would have you conclude that while the war isn’t over, technology, whilst still in its infancy is very promising. On a larger scale though, the conversation isn’t about people vs computers, but more seeing how disadvantaged people that can’t access face to face consultations due to financial or locational restraints can “level the playing field” and still achieve a decent level of assistance.
For the people who already have access to health and medical professionals it’s about enhancing your experience to achieve better health or at least moderate health more easily.