Is the Jawbone Wristband the Future of Healthcare?

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Can a wristband monitor your health?

A new product from Jawbone is making waves in the healthcare industry. It's a bendable, waterproof wristband that people can use to track their health stats and keep track of how much exercise they get throughout the day.

The wristband is called The Up and it connects with an app on the iPhone (even though an Android app is in the works) using a small audio jack hidden under a silver cap on the end. In addition to syncing the wristband to their smart phones, users also have to charge the device by plugging into a USB connector every week or so.

The wristband keeps track of how often its wearers sleep and exercise. It monitors the wearer's movements and can tell when they are asleep. As an added plus, you can set an alarm and the wristband will wake you up with gentle vibrations. In addition, it monitors how deeply you sleep and picks a time closest to your desired awake time, attempting to wake you when your sleep is at its lightest.

The Up also keeps track of how much you move during the day and logs all of your activity. For example, if you spent the day shopping at the mall, it will track how long you walked and how many miles you went. Along with the smartphone app, users are encouraged to keep a log of the food they eat and how they felt a couple of hours after eating.

The neat thing is that it combines all of this data to help people get a clear idea of their activities. By tracking these activities, users have a comprehensive tool for managing their health information.

Although it has the potential to grow in the future to be a tool that can also monitor blood pressure and sugar levels, for now at least, Jawbone envisions The Up to be a way for people to connect with their friends and share their health data. The iPhone app encourages people to invite their friends and get support for mini-goals. Even though the app isn't integrated with social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook just yet, there is still space to connect with friends inside the app.

Personally, I don't think that I would want to use the wristband and app with my social network. I think that when I sleep and how much exercise I get is way too personal for my Facebook wall. On the surface, it seems innocuous enough, but I can't help but wonder what will happen when I tell my friends that I couldn't go out because I need to sleep and the next day they see several bouts of strenuous activity throughout my night with few sleep hours?

The other downside is that I would have to have friends who have the wristband in order to share the information with them. Without any friends who have it, it would be hard to stay motivated.

The Up retails for $99 and is available at most Apple stores, Targets and Best Buy.

What do you think about this type of health monitoring? Do you see any other applications for this technology in the future? Please share your thoughts and comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for HealthcareJobsiteBlog and Nexxt.. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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