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Analysis

Creating Healthy Habits Using Smartphones

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 07/27/2020 - 14:39

Many startup companies and multinational giants in the industry have developed technological tools to encourage and track healthy habits of people, while at the same time developing personalized solutions that can help them adopt a healthier lifestyle. “Health, disease and disability are dynamic processes in an individual’s lifespan and therefore preventive healthcare must be equally dynamic,” says an APPT study, which divides the concept into five key stages of care:

  1. Primal prevention. It focuses on the fetus’ and newborn life’s environment, which will determine adult health.
  2. Primordial prevention. This aims to prevent risk factors regarding diseases or bad habits. It is a process based on healthy lifestyles and also sex education.
  3. Primary prevention. When risks have been identified, this process of prevention aims to reduce them before they turn into a disease.
  4. Secondary prevention. It targets pre-existing conditions that are currently asymptomatic to avoid them from progressing.
  5. Tertiary prevention. This aims to reduce progression and effects of symptomatic and non-reversible diseases.

The document highlights three reasons that should raise concerns regarding healthcare complications and developing a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Preventive healthcare promotes individual well-being and happiness because it raises self-awareness regarding people’s bodies and enhances all capabilities for them to function in the best way possible. Individuals live longer with less ailments, which prevents them from experiencing physical pain.
  2. It boosts the economy as healthy people are more productive. A healthier population means more people employed and working productively.
  3. Reduces the pressure on healthcare services. Mexico is a prime example; the country has an obesity epidemic that cost MX$240 billion (US$12.43 billion) just in 2017 and is now linked to the three main mortality causes: heart disease, diabetes mellitus and malignant tumors.

Nowadays, technological developments allow people to be more in control of their health habits and track their lifestyle regarding exercise, meals, moods and emotional health. MBN has interviewed companies that have developed apps that help the user to be aware of their habits through smartphones. KALMY, a digital broker on health insurance has developed an interesting dynamic to promote health and incentivize people to keep healthy lifestyles. According to CEO Emmanuelle Brunet, “given that the whole purpose of the app is to promote a healthier lifestyle, we have a section that automatically registers habits and lifestyle characteristics and displays a progress bar that indicates improvements, which will also unlock benefits that could include discounts at healthy restaurants or movie tickets.”

Habits.ai is a health-management corporate app that, according to CEO José Antonio Torres, is “a combination of artificial intelligence, behavioral change and gamification. For companies, the gamify component is key because company employees are constantly competing and thus changing their habits.” Company Aidicare has developed an even more in-depth solution that can link users with hospital in case they need to visit one, through their app and wearable. “Our solution Aidicare Life is designed to, through a wearable and an app, track the person’s vital signs, including sleep patterns, physical activity, daily steps, weight control, glucose control, heart rate, blood pressure, oximetry and temperature,” said CEO Juan Cáceres.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst