Sensoring versus Reporting

I had a fascinating discussion the other day with someone from Jawbone about the differences between data sources.  Jawbone and many others allow you to count steps using an instrument in a device.  It’s a sensor.  The data, within a few degrees, is accurate.  It can be tallied, analyzed, and predicted.

On the other hand, food journaling is a reporting exercise.  Many apps allow you to jot down what you have eaten and when.  Either with manual entry or database look-up the nutritional content can be tabulated.  But it’s prone with human error and ego.  Not all sugary snacks get recorded.  Whole days and weeks can be missed in the data stream.  This is exactly a problem that faces all self-reported data that the healthcare industry has faced for years.  People lie.  To themselves.  To their doctors.  And now, to their devices.

So, is there a way that we could sensor things that were once reported?  Patients who have pacemaker/defibrillators don’t have to report their heart rate or even their level of activity.  Their device does it for them by monitoring their heart from the inside.  An insulin pump doesn’t require a pricked finger in a blood sugar test.  It notes the change and dispenses the intervention automatically.  But those with chronic, life-threatening diseases like heart failure or diabetes will accept these invasive sensors.  But what about the average person just wanting to improve their life and health?

Would you, as a consumer, sign up for a ring or bracelet that tracks your heart rate so you don’t have to record your exercise?  I think the answer is “yes,” due to the broad adoption of FitBit, Apple iWatch, Jawbone, Polar, and other such devices.

Would you sign up for blood sugar monitoring (if it could be done without drawing blood), so you didn’t have to register your food and you could enjoy personalized recommendations and recipes that might give you what your body needed next?

Would you sign up for a virtual assistant that would block your calendar and tell you to get up and walk in the middle of the day?

What would you be willing to sensor to avoid reporting and to gain the benefits of the data?