You know the drill – the doctor slides the cuff onto your arm, pumps it up, and then tells you your blood pressure is way too high. Well now you can get that entire experience at your home, and without the doctor. Withings, a French healthcare innovation firm, has modernized blood pressure monitoring by hooking up an electronic version of the iconic cuff to your iOS mobile devices. Now you can measure your blood pressure, records the results, even share the readings with your medical professional, all with your iPhone or iPad. Watch the Withings iOS blood pressure monitor in action in the video below. The Withings electronic pressure measuring cuff is on sale in the US for $130, with a free iOS app and free online access to make the most of its readings. Just one of many mobile healthcare monitoring solutions, Withings' blood pressure device is another sign that patient empowerment and at-home tracking are ready to transform medicine.
We've run across various at-home health monitoring devices, and many will make some sort of pressure measurements, but Withings' cuff actually has the physical constriction and the higher quality reading you'd experience at a medical facility. But taking both systolic and diastolic arterial pressure isn't really the innovation here. Withings has worked very hard to make not only the blood pressure monitoring device, but the actual blood pressure data as mobile as possible. The free iOS app lets you push your data to a secure online repository, send information directly to healthcare professionals, or export your data to cloud based health services like Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault. Whithings has a wireless weight scale for the home as well, and you can combine data from that device with the blood pressure monitor or even tie it in with 24/7 wearable monitors like the FitBit to get a more comprehensive record of your body.
Next generation health tracking technology is already here. From general continuous monitors (i.e. FitBit, WIN, Toumaz Digital Plaster, etc) to specialized measuring devices like the Withings blood pressure monitor, we have the means for anyone to record their body in great detail. The only thing this technology really needs is more interest from users. You could go right now and spend less than $500 and turn your iPhone into a full blown health monitoring medical device. Anyone could...but do we want to? For people with chronic medical conditions, I think the answer is a clear 'yes'. Devices like the Withings cuff will enable the infirm to participate in their own treatments, monitor themselves to improve their understanding of their health, and maybe even avoid some costly visits to the doctor's office.
As for the healthy...the next few years should show us whether this branch of medical gadgetry will finally become a mainstream success or whether taking charge of our own health monitoring is something that most of us simply do not aspire to do.
[image and video credits: Withings]