Life expectancy indicator app

 
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This personal health tracking system could actively monitor a user’s life expectancy using a smartphone’s sensors. The app could offer an easy to understand and elegant user interface centered around the concept of the ‘life number’, which simplifies the complex mathematics of life expectancy into a single number that is directly impacted by a user’s decisions. The mobile app could also be coupled with a device to measure a user’s weight and exercise level.

The app is designed around the idea that everything people do affects their life expectancy, whether it be eating well, smoking cigarettes, or exercising. By tracking these components, along with lifestyle updates such as behavior and goals, the software is able to calculate the users’ life expectancy on the fly based on the measurements it takes. The software also leverages existing life insurance industry calculations for life expectancy and augments this information into a proactive improvement plan for the user. As as the user adds additional personal information over time, the app begins to suggest specific recommended behaviors for a healthier life. If privacy issues can be solved the collected monitoring data could provide support for clinicians to provide personalized treatment.

This system could be a invaluable tool for insurance companies as well as private health insurance scheme providers for defining risks levels, reduce overall costs. While this would have far reaching benefits for public health and hence to the public healthcare it may be easier to have market penetration in the private markets. Still because of public health benefits policy-makers could explore the development of incentives supporting the diffusion.

References and photo credentials: http://www.psfk.com/2013/04/life-expectancy-app.html

 

10 Responses to “Life expectancy indicator app”

  1. I’m really sceptical about this vision. Neither the use for insurance companies nor the use for private persons of these technique will improve the public health.
    Every decision a person makes, can be checked if its positive for life expectancy or not. Nowadays people are also aware of the dangers of smoking or drinking alcohol, but how it should influence the people when they see the reduction of their life expectancy through the consumption? Additionally this App will increase the frustration of a lot of persons. If we look at the huge number of unhealthy products, nearly everything will drop life expectancy.

    Due to the fact that health insurances could define their risk levels through such a technology it will be quite harder or more expensive for people to get insured. The insurances are able to know nearly every detail about the person who wants to be insured. Due to this fact they won’t insure persons with an unhealthy lifestyle, because this will increase the costs for the insurance companies.

    How should a technology that reminds us every day on our life expectancy improve our lifetime. I think it only reduces the quality of life because we will always think about our day of death…

     
  2. First of all such an app would definitely be something many people would be interested in. However I would not call it a life expectancy app because that’s in my opinion clearly not the purpose of it. If you intend to have an app calculating the life expectancy of a person, parameters such as weight, smoking, eating, excercising and similar habits are insufficient.

    In the video you reference to, it becomes apparent that the app could measure the increase in life expectancy even on an hourly basis by changing your habits. Personally, I think that this would be a nice feature but I doubt that you can calculate the life expectancy of a person on a yearly basis let alone on an hourly basis by just taking into account the parameters you have taken. The idea of this app is quite clear. Getting people to change habits which harm their health. People should be given advice on how to change their lifestyle, eating habits etc. in order to be healthy. It seems to me that this is the main aim of this app. The calculation of the life expectancy is a nice feature which could get the people actually using this app because in my opinion the life expectancy adds a fun factor to it. Moreover I believe that by using this app people will take more care about their health and personalize it.

    Lastly, I would not call it a life expectancy indicator app. I would rather call it a lifestyle improvement app because in the life expectancy calculation the app does not take into account parameters such as injuries of people or genetic parameters.

     
  3. I’m not really a fan about this vision. It doesn’t matter if it is the use for insurance companies or the use for private persons of these technique. Every person can be decide if something has a positive or a negative effect on himself. It is a personal decision if someone smokes or drinks alcohol but everybody knows the dangerous aspects.
    One fact of this App will be that a lot of people will be frustrated because nearly everything will be a unhealthy product.
    I think it will be dangerous if a insurance is able to know everything about a person because there some points wich are really private and it shouldn’t be able to give anyone no insurence because of his or her lifestyle.
    I am not really a fan of this system and I think it doesn’t will help us to have a higher quality of life.

     
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  8. I doubt an app like this would be widely used. After reading the vision a second time, I realized the app is described in a quite positive way (for example, taking into account exercise and “eating well”)

    Yet all that stuck with me after reading it the first time was that the app would record everything I did WRONG. Every calorie I ate too much, every cigarette I smoked, every drink I had, every time I took the lift instead of walking up the stairs…
    However, if you reverse this, you end up with things that will NOT be recorded: The app won’t record every cigarette I didn’t smoke, every drink I didn’t have or every calorie I didn’t eat too much…

    Even if the app did record all the things I did that are positive for my life expectancy, these positive things would need to make up for ALL the negative things – probably more than once. Bad is stronger than good. (see http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/Assets/71516.pdf)

    Being such, the app would need to be designed in a way that really focuses on the positive. If I already feel bad about the whole bar of chocolate I just devoured, I’m not going to use an app that makes me feel even worse about it.

    I believe a group of people who would use this app are people who have already made the decision to change their lives, e.g. by losing weight or stopping smoking. These people already know, what they’re doing is harmful, they want to change their behavior and maybe even seek help for doing so in an app like the suggested one. There, every cigarette less that is smoked in comparison to yesterday, could have a positive effect on the “life number”. There I believe this app could be useful. But if a person simply doesn’t really want to change unhealthy behavior, they simply aren’t going to use an app like this.

    One other problem I see is: who is to say what is good and what is bad for life expectancy? Yes, it is quite obvious that smoking or severe obesity are negative. But what about a glass of red wine. Is it taken into account that red wine can have positive effects on the body (anti-oxidants) or is it only seen that alcohol was consumed. Or exercise – skiing is exercise. But I might crash into a tree and die… There goes my life expectancy. I agree here with an earlier comment in arguing that life expectancy indicator might not be the best name for an app like this.

    Also, if this app is to be used for the gain of insurance companies, people either won’t use the app, believing insurance companies to only want what is good for themselves, or they won’t provide honest and true information, which would take away the whole point of the app.

     
  9. First I think the idea isn’t that bad. I think it’s a good way that you see how little things affect your health and furthermore your life expectancy. Graphics showing what’s good or bad for you are a more efficient.

    But I don’t like the vision of seeing my life expectancy as a number, that’s kinda creepy. Also if you see that one piece of chocolate already shortens your life expectancy you loose your motivation.

    Also like Jennifer said – who says what’s good for you and what has a negative influence? Everybody is different, ergo some things might be better/worse for someone else.

    What I really don’t appreciate is the idea of insurance companies using this tool or even have access to the personal user data of this app! That shouldn’t be the interest of the app.

     
  10. I think that such an app might become quite popular and sell really well because it appeals to peoples control addiction. Moreover I also believe that this app might actually sometimes urge people to not to succumb to the temptations of unhealthy indulgences.
    Nevertheless I am not very foud of this idea for the following reasons. First I don’t think that a calculation of live expectancy that is changing after every casual activity (like smoking a cigarette or eating a hamburger) can not be very accurate because one single action is not statistically significant. Inspite of this problem I understand your approach because order to change his patterns the user will need an immediate reply to his actions.
    Secondly I that that Jennifer is right with her point that you can not just split all actions into the categories healthy an unhealthy in such a superficial way.
    Finally I think that few people will have the endurence to use this applications for a longer period because it would require too much effort to constantly record ones patterns. Thus I believe as I have stated above that even though if many people will try out your app because the idea seems interresting but I do not think that your application really will improve most users life in a long term.

     

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