The ‘Doctor in Your Car’
feature, which was announced at the Digital Health Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is a new technology that helps drivers monitor health and wellness while in their cars. Ford, Microsoft, Healthrageous, and BlueMetal Architects are each a part of the alliance to undertake this project.
The idea for this technology stemmed from the study done by Pew Research, which found that 93% of people say they seek online health information because of its convenience. They want information on their own schedules as opposed to the doctor’s. The study also found that 83% seek online information because they get more information from the Internet than their own doctor. Eighty percent feel that getting online health information privately is more important to them that talking to someone. In fact, health and wellness has become the most popular activity on the Internet behind email and general searches.
At the beginning of 2011, medical and health care was the third-fastest-growing category of smartphone applications with over 17,000 available to download. By 2015, approximately 500 million people are expected to be using mobile health care apps.
Officials say the goal for ‘Doctor in Your Car” is to determine how to noninvasively extend health management into the personal vehicle. BlueMetal Architects developed the prototype system for this new technology with Healthrageous using information collected from blood pressure monitors, activity monitors, glucose meters, and behavioral data shared by the user to help drivers lead healthier lifestyles.
Microsoft is working to decode robotic sensory information provided by the vehicle into an application that uses a voice and touch-screen interface, while integrating biometrical data that come from a wearable device.
With the help of the Ford SYNC program, everything for ‘Doctor in Your Car’ can be done hands-free. The system will also pinpoint biometric and vehicle data as the basis for real-time health, wellness advice, and monitoring. This would allow the driver to provide voice inputs that highlight the important aspects of his or her health routine.
Once the driver inputs the data into the system, it is uploaded to the HealthVault cloud. The information is then transferred to Windows Azure, processed with other health data, and sent back to the driver in graphical reports that can be accessed after having left the vehicle.
“It’s all about making health more accessible, and engaging and thereby helping more people lead healthier and more enriching lives,” said Mary Beth Chalk, Healthrageous cofounder and chief marketing officer.