Ever since bathroom scales became a household mainstay and we no longer require medical professionals to monitor our weight, taking ownership of our own healthcare has continued to evolve. Today we live in a world where we can research our own symptoms from various sources, do a great deal of medical testing at home with products we can buy at the drug store, and even use a mobile phone app to monitor our heart rate and oxygen levels.
A new device introduced this year for smart phones called Tinke has helped further self healthcare even more. The tiny little device plugs into your phone and becomes a monitor of heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, and heart rate variability. The user simply places their finger over the sensors and the technology detects changes in blood skin blood volume to get readings.
From there the data is displayed on the phone through the Tinke app, and the user can begin to track their own health.
The information can remain completely private, however, users are encouraged to join the Tinke community. Just like many wellness apps, the community of users is intended to encourage and motivate. The sharing of fitness and wellness information has been useful for many people in the social media world as they try to improve their health. Again, something we used to only do in the privacy of our own doctor’s office.
Tinke also provides a trending function in the app that allows users to monitor long-term changes through a graph. The app has a few unique functions. It measures your Vita index and your Zen index. Vita is the name given to a personalized score that combines heart rate and blood oxygen levels. The Vita score is intended to give an interpretation of your cardiorespiratory health. The Zen index refers to your stress levels. The monitors basis your Zen index off of the heart rate variability, using the Zen index as a simplified way to understand the readings.
While the product seems useful and a great new way for individuals to take medical care into their own hands, what does a doctor think? Dr. Josh Umbehr of Atlas MD gave his opinion about Tinke.
“As a medical techie I really enjoy seeing things like this come out,” said Umbehr. However, he does feel the company may be overselling themselves when it comes to the public gaining major benefits from knowing all of their health levels and rates. He’s also a bit skeptical of their proprietary algorithm that measures the health factors and stress levels. Despite some initial criticisms, however, Umbehr believes Tinke is “overall a neat little product that I think a lot of people would enjoy.”
December 5th, 2012