Tech reflects our humanity

August 2, 2017 – 8:46 AM | By Katie Pfaff | No comments yet

Well-being or wellnessWhen my now middle-aged dog was a puppy, I looked into taking him to basic obedience classes. At one of these sessions, a group of newbie pet owners gathered in a room tucked into the back of a pet store. Each came armed with a pocketful of treats or a clicker, hopeful to see results with their pet. As the class went on, some pets obliged their owner’s coaxing to sit or lie down, while others angled for treats. It quickly became apparent that much of the training that was necessary to make a well-behaved dog was actually on the part of the owner. I don’t mean that flippantly in terms of the dog making the owner feed their seemingly bottomless bellies, but that a well-behaved dog starts with an owner who is consistent in training and maintenance.

It seems the same is true of health, where seemingly small, insignificant choices can have an impact over time. Skip a workout once in a while it’s no problem, but those continued choices can catch up with us in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, stress – any number of ailments. The medical device industry also reflects this paradigm, with many tools aimed at helping us to coax ourselves out of our own tendencies. These include an array of devices that help to monitor disease processes, or devices that recognize stress , or wearables to encourage restful sleep. In fact, sleep medicine practitioners often cite “sleep hygiene” as the first issue they ask patients about. This is a self-evaluation on how effective we are at closing out our days in preparation for bed – that means no television and no devices in the bedroom since these keep us plugged in and can interfere with sleep.

While there is no discounting our days are stressful, and taking the time to take care of ourselves often falls by the wayside, it is clear there also is interest in meeting these needs with tech. Devices can inform us about techniques that we might not be aware of, or simple tweaks to improve sleep, for instance, that may make for more rested mornings. When an average person thinks of med-tech devices, they might imagine the big-splash items that aid in helping paralyzed people walk, for one. It’s an amazing feat to be sure, but there’s also a place for device companies working on small items that may appear to only make a ripple in the pond, but could add up to a major impact for individuals.

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