Monitoring and Improving the Health of People with Vision Loss
As the cost and complexity of health care grow, we are faced with more and more challenges in maintaining and improving the quality of our health. Fortunately, a host of new solutions are on the horizon. Let me share with you some of the issues and solutions in the next 5-10 minutes. You'll learn about completely new technology that can organize, monitor, and very possibly improve your quality of health and quality of life.
If you are like most blind people I know, you have at least one or two accessible medical devices in your home today. Maybe you don't think of them as medical per se, but they are. For instance, you probably have a thermometer with either a large print display or speech output. Most of us today also have a talking scale. The frequency we use this equipment varies, particularly with that scale, but let's not dwell too much on that. Suffice it to say that at least once or twice a year, we all need to check our temperature, and I'll leave it to you to know how often you might be inclined to check your weight on the scale.
Now, imagine that you start a new diet. Or, perhaps you've taken a vacation, and after returning you want to check your weight. So, you drag out that dusty scale, hop on, and hear the reading. It is at this moment that you may begin to wonder: "What exactly was my weight the last time I stepped on that scale?" Was it 5 pounds more, 10 pounds less? Hard to remember, isn't it? Your hope might be different than the reality, but you just can't quite recall the real value. No doubt, we've all been there.
Wouldn't it be great to be able to check in with a source that could give you this information: good or bad? Read on, and we'll tell you how this can be done, securely and affordably.
Let's now consider other medical devices you, your spouse, or a loved one could also be using or might use in the next few years. And remember, not just old people use medical technology today. I'm thinking, for example, of a good college friend who had high blood pressure in his teens. By age 20, he took his blood pressure every day, sometimes more often. Another important area of consideration is the worldwide epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. This increase is little short of shocking, and it's affecting over 20 million Americans today according to the American Diabetes Association. Pregnancy-related Type 2 diabetes affects people in their teens and 20s, and while on that topic let's be frank! The increase of diabetes in young people due to childhood obesity is also in epidemic proportion according to the New York times and other major news sources.
Because of our industrialization and overall environment, there has been a huge increase in lung disorder in the United States, Japan and in other industrialized and industrializing nations. It may well be that lung disorder among the blind is more prevalent due to premature birth which can lead to lung and related breathing disfunction. Asthma and other chronic obstructionary pullmanary disease (COPAID) problems are gaining more and more attention each day.
Any and all of these things can affect us, and as we age, such conditions can and will probably increase. As we live longer, one or more of these conditions is almost inevitable. Of course, we all opt for aging, and try to find effective and meaningful ways to cope with whatever health issues we may face.
As blind people, we face not only such potential medical problems, but we face the additional need of finding and procuring accessible medical equipment to help us manage such medical issues. Isn't it aggravating that so few medical technologies, available to people who do not have vision loss, are not available to us? Without wanting to depress you or make you feel overwhelmed by such problems, it is important to review the current status of medical technology for us as blind people. Read on please, knowing that there may be a rainbow at the end of the trail. Trust me when I tell you that there are solutions either available today or in the near future that can truly help you take charge of your personal health and well-being. `near future" means in the next 3-6 months, if that is what you want to see happen.
So now, you know the problem, at least to some extent. The promise for solutions is about to be revealed as well. The problem is that we as blind people have very little access to the medical information about ourselves that we desperately need to know. With today's technology, I may be able to take my blood glucose reading and perhaps I can hear it read to me one time. But, I may not be able to review it later on for verification. If I have asthma, I have no access to a peak flow meter or an Oximeter to help manage my breathing issues. If my blood pressure or weight is an important issue, I probably can access some information about it, but not a lot. Record keeping for all of these things is a huge problem, and no real solution has existed for it that is widely accepted or used within the blind community.
Heart disease is the Number One killer in the Western world. As the rest of the world adopts more and more of our lifestyle, they're having trouble with this, too. Have you ever considered the need in your home for an Electrocardiogram? To date, there is no accessible Electrocardiogram with speech for blind people to use.
At Bay Area Digital, we have been thinking about and working on the problem of medical equipment accessibility since 2005. We are owned by blind and visually impaired people, we have a long history among us of creating effective access through braille and speech, and we fervently believe in the need for accessible medical equipment for all people experiencing vision loss. Best of all, we are very, very close to offering the first of many solutions. I want to tell you about this first solution in the next paragraphs. After that, I'll give you a sense of where we plan to go with additional solutions in the next 2-5 years. If you're like me and want to find ways of improving your health, you can't help but be excited about what we have to offer.
In the first quarter of 2009, we plan to offer a flexible, multi-purpose medical solution, like nothing ever seen before in the blindness field. With our proprietary technology, we can offer you immediate access to a host of different medical products that meet your needs today and that can be expanded to meet your needs for a lifetime. We offer access to every major medical device used today in standard home health care. Each medical product interfaces with our proprietary HealthTeller module. HealthTeller allows you to use medical products, gives you verbal and large-print feedback about product measurements, and can store measurement data with security and privacy in a database geared specifically to your needs. The Bay Area Digital HealthTeller can track your medications, remind you what to take and when, and advises you when refills should be ordered. Would you like reminders for taking blood pressure or blood glucose readings? The Bay Area Digital HealthTeller can remind you of a reading if you don't take it within a given time range. If you do take the reading within that range, it is simply received and stored in your personal database. At any scheduled event time, if you don't provide a reading through HealthTeller, you'll be reminded and requested to do so. All of this is under your control. The Bay Area Digital HealthTeller is your medical companion. You work together to create positive, improved, and personalized health care for your life.
Here's an example of what you can do. Do you have a target weight you'd like to achieve? If so, plug that weight into HealthTeller. From that time on, each weight measurement you take is compared to your personally selected weight target weight. You'll get the feedback you need, politely and immediately, to help you achieve your goal. When your goal is met, either change it, or simply have that function disabled. Then, bring it back later, if you like. It's all possible with HealthTeller.
Gain access to top names in the medical equipment field: TeleHelp; AandD; Roche Diagnostics, Abbott Laboratories; Nonin Technologies. Your medical professionals know and respect these companies. They have direct and ongoing relationships with these equipment manufacturers. When they see the access you can have to this equipment, they will know you are a significant part of the health equation that can make you well and/or keep you well.
In conclusion, 2009 holds the greatest opportunity ever known thus far to bring access to medical-grade equipment into the homes of people with vision loss. Bay Area Digital is your source for this technology. If you are interested in learning more about HealthTeller, leave us your name and contact information. We'll answer your questions and help you design a support system that meets your health need today and long into the future.