I used to like to use Tactio Health App back in the day, before the introduction of the Apple Health Kit.
However, after getting a more modern iPhone and installing it onto it, I realized that despite the fact that Tactio Health was reading tons of data from the Health app, it was only writing weight to it. So all of my details related to blood pressure measurements, blood analyses, et Co were locked-in inside the app and it had no intention to share it.
Scanning the App store for apps that would cover that angle actually lead me to a realization – there are tons of copycat apps with slightly different flavors covering four major directions: workout tracking/guidance, weight loss/gain, periods tracking, and baby-related apps.
All in all, there are no lifestyle tracking apps to keep an eye on your habits and warn when you are getting into a lifestyle that would lead to dire health consequences. And there is even less collaboration between apps that try to do it – and Tactio Health is a case in point.
More interestingly, it looks like there are no market right now for that kind of apps – either the users are already bent on keeping their health intact and don’t need any reminders, or they are so hopelessly behind that the “you are too bad” tone of the current apps is way too discouraging.
At the same time, I can understand the reticence of the users to put their health data out there, in the wild, while knowing that potentially this data can be used to deny them coverage in the future or drive their premiums up.
I am back to trying to get an insight on quantifying my life and am running into the same problem that I used to always experience with the activity/food trackers in the past. They are simply not made to encourage people to change and maintain changes. Just a couple of problems to start with:
- The activity tracking suggests at least ~150 minutes cardio per week. If a new user is just starting and switching from a sedentary lifestyle and are trying to go into an active one, this will be deadly to them – the most they can carry out is 60 minutes of cardio at maximum for the first month and a half. Trying to get to 150 minutes is a guaranteed recipe for failure to adhere more than for the first week or so, either because of the lack of will or lack of because they will hurt themselves by trying to ramp up too fast. A better way of doing it would be to take ~2 weeks of monitoring upon each uninterrupted session, then suggest a ramp-up that would gradually improve the habits of the user in a way that would stick in the long run.
- In my own experience, the reason a lot of people end up in a pretty bad shape is not necessary because they don’t know any better, they don’t have the time because of their work and other occupations, that constantly make self-care slide to the end of their list of priorities. A lot of activity/food tracking solutions require a lot of active input from the user and because of that, tend to have a low adherence rate, especially in the long term. A much better option would be to perform monitoring in the long run that requires almost none
- Specifically for the food trackers – the lack of a unified repository of products and ability to fraction amount of them consumed. I was able to find for some of them teas that contain cholesterol (WTF?), but wasn’t able to see what was in unless I reviewed the labels.
- And as per usual, the current state of the trackers is deplorable when it comes to measuring anything outside the calories. A lot of “healthy” foods are healthy not so much because they contain fewer calories, but because they contain a lot of micro-elements and vitamins that make them cover and prevent cravings in the long run.
Bonsu point: Apple health app unifying different apps. That doesn’t seem like much, but it definitely stitches all the apps together into one, making sure the information flows inside the health app ecosystem, allowing me to log in an activity once, as opposed to 3-4 times before that, and still benefit from the best of all the apps without having to deal with the worst.
I do think that the sleep monitors should not require an active action from the user to activate them every night. Instead, it should be something that runs in the background – like GPS or pedometer in your telephone for walking distance monitoring.
Hence I see a tool that would be having two following functions:
- movement detection for the quality of sleep computation
- light detection, in order to figure out when you are sleeping or could be potentially sleeping