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Smart devices get even smarter when it comes to your health

Smart technology helping provide advance notice of falling ill
Smart technology helping provide advance notice of falling ill

PLANTATION, Fla. – In the new era of COVID we’re used to having our temperatures and even blood oxygen levels regularly checked to warn of possible infection.

Advanced forms of smart technology are giving people the chance to know hours in advance if they’re getting sick.

As an occupational therapist for young children, Mary Cunningham takes every precaution to protect her clients, and herself, from illness.

That’s why she was fascinated by a newly developed smart device program called SickPredict.

“When I’m working with kids, if I wasn’t feeling well, to be able to keep them safe and be able to decide on a moment’s notice ‘go to virtual, go outside or be more closer in contact,” she said.

Joshua Salman and a partner came up with the concept last spring as the coronavirus swept through the state and the nation.

“So I was thinking ‘can’t we use the technology on our wrist to predict if we’re getting sick before we have symptoms?’ and the answer is yes,” he said.

Using health metrics already imbedded in smart devices, SickPredict utilizes a special algorithm that tells you when there are major changes in all that health data.

“SickPredict tells you 24 to 48 hours before you have symptoms which is huge; it’s going to change the way personal health is done, it’s going to change the way medicine is done, it’s where we’re headed in the future,” Salman said.

Along with her concern for infection, Cunningham feels the SickPredict program may have saved her life from a potentially fatal clotting disorder.

“Which has also now changed my life because now it’s another piece of information that to keep my health in check and balance and live my life more to the fullest, instead of having to rely on getting these serious symptoms before I go and figure out what’s going on,” Cunningham said.

Researchers at Stanford University have been following the potential of wearable sleep and fitness trackers for the past seven years and most recently found that, on average, these devices could detect COVID and other respiratory illnesses days before the onset of symptoms.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.