How Tech is Creating the Opportunity for Consumers to Take Control of Their Health

08/01/2016 08:01 pm ET
Every year more and more people take control of their health.

BioTech is revolutionizing everyday health. Wearables are giving us insights into our fitness routines and even helping us identify problems with our sleep patterns. Smart shoes give feedback on the quality of your running style and connected toothbrushes tell you to brush softer or that you missed a spot. All of these help improve our wellness efforts, but none of them hold a candle to the insights that we can get from MRIs. Until now, MRIs have been purely diagnostic, meant for identifying injuries and diseases. One company is hoping to change that by pulling non-diagnostic data from MRIs and delivering it to consumers in an affordable package.

Marcus Foster, founder and CEO of Klarismo, a consumer service and software that creates a 3D model of the inside of your body, says he wants to “make MRIs as common as haircuts.” Why is this important, and how could it put the consumer in control of their health? The following are 3 reasons MRI tech is going to change the way you view your body and fitness.

Getting to know your fat

The fitness industry says subcutaneous fat is the worst kind. This is the fat that changes our body shape and is visible just beneath the skin. But in reality, visceral fat, which resides more internally around several vital organs in the abdomen, is far more dangerous, and it is invisible from our perspective. It is known to increase insulin resistance and contribute to risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Foster says using the automated quantitative image analysis through his MRIs can identify percentages of visceral fat, giving the consumer a picture of their internal makeup and what they really need to focus on. You may not like how your love handles look, but they are not as likely to cause the same health complications that visceral fat is responsible for.

Wellness Data that kicks Fitbit to the curb

Since Fitbit hit the market in 2008, all kinds of metrics have been invented to inspire fitness. The first Fitbits tracked steps taken, activity, sleep, calories burned, and distance travelled. Now the consumer electronics market is saturated with similar devices that measure stationary time, assess patterns, and track the quality of your sleep. While these are useful bits of information, they fall short of creating a complete picture of actual health.

Marcus Foster, CEO Klarismo

Foster points out that when you use these devices to track your fitness journey, you can see a difference in your physique, and you have information about your exercise, but other information is missing: Where did you lose fat? Where did you gain muscle?

Body scans can show you in detail where your efforts have been effective to help you continue improving your approach.

“Through the dramatic technological advances within the healthcare industry in recent years, we’re asking questions we never would have even known to ask a decade ago. The result is a booming market of technologies aiming to better ourselves,” says Foster.

Making healthcare routines proactive, not reactive

“As a rule, people approach their health in a reactive fashion. They wait for something to go wrong and then they seek health solutions that help them solve the problem. Body scans have the potential to give control to the consumer and give them a proactive approach to their healthcare planning.” Foster shared that he thinks that frequent scans put the consumer from a defensive position to an offensive one.

Tech is bringing diversified options to proactive healthcare. Health-minded consumers can utilize numerous approaches to create their own customized suite of health care regimens. Combining tech like body scans, fitness trackers, and smart clothing will be more likely to identify health issues or prevent them altogether.

Understanding your muscular system

Most people have not seen a diagram of their muscular system since health class. Aside from posters at the doctor’s office or small icons on machines at the gym, consumers often have no awareness of how their muscular system supports their health. Body scans provide detailed segmentation of different muscle groups and evaluate muscle mass.

Understanding your muscular make up helps you control your fitness in a few different ways. It helps anyone trying to improve their physique by showing detailed images of size and shape of different muscle groups. It also shows you how your muscles are interconnected and that knowledge could help prevent injuries during exercise

Technology like body scans, fitness wearables, and smart clothing are changing the landscape of personal health tracking. Consumers can choose from multiple brands and product experiences to find the perfect setup for them. Biotech and health tech companies are working fast to get more products to market. With an influx of product innovation and increasing demand, tech will soon be reshaping personal health journeys for everyone.

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