Technology Rocks Your Running Socks
Stephanie: Hello, hi, everybody. Haha! In the interest of time, I think one of the organizers was to be here, but we only have a certain amount of time. I wanna go ahead and jump in. My name is Stephanie Scott, and I am the world wide director at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. And I'm going to speak, with you for about 10 minutes before the panel gets up and joins you. So, let's dive right in because we only have a certain amount of time.
So today I'm going to talk to you very briefly about empowering you through diagnostics, and to talk about the impact diagnostics have, and I think probably hopefully, most of us, get our blood tests done once a year, hopefully. We probably don't give much thought to those when they come out normal or in many cases when we don't hear back from our physician. I want to take a little time today and talk about how we can be using diagnostics a little bit differently. Not just to find out when we're sick but to help keep us healthy.
So, in general as a society, in this country, we tend to be very diseased and sickness focused. We tend to value our health only when we get sick. We're not really thinking about health on a day to day basis. And there's not wholesale investment of health. When we do get sick, we expect every solution or treatment that's available is going to be able to help us or eliminate some of the risk. But this is a really expensive and inefficient to operate because we're not working in the context of healthcare, we're working in the context of sick care and that's much more expensive to treat. According to the Center for Medicated Medicare Services in 2010, we spent 2.6 trillion dollars on healthcare. That's a lot of money that could be used for a lot of different things. If you look at the CDC numbers, 75% of that healthcare spending was spent on chronic preventable diseases. Things that we could do something about. So the healthcare system is being physically incapacitated and drained financially. Think about it from some of the choices that get make around our health.
So, if we can change our diagnostics, we can change people. Changing the way we think about diagnostics to change the way that we think about our health. There is a new paradigm that's newly emerging in healthcare and it places more of an emphasis on keeping people healthy instead of just treating them when they are sick. You have seen it in private health care and in public health care, so that's a significant component of the affordable healthcare act that was just passed. Changing how healthcare is delivered is not simple enough, you sort of have to change things on the receiver end as well. You have to empower people to take charge of their health and give them access to the tools and information that they need to be able to enable to manage health. Not only for them, but for their families. You know, you think about when you get in an airplane and they tell you if cabin pressure has decreased, the oxygen masks down, put it on yourself first before your family, you have to take care of yourself, and then your family.
Tools and information that could delay the onset of chronic disease. Again, not just waiting until people have chronic disease, but what can we do to use diagnostics as more of an early indicator before people are even sick, but they are heading down the wrong path, and also helping people to partner with their health care providers. Sometimes consumers are overwhelmed with healthcare information, and there's too much information or not the right information. So one of the challenges is not just changing how health care is delivered, and how much access people have but even when the partner ships are with the physicians. And ultimately all of these things help people to make better choices. Amongst those, the more valuable tools, some of the more overlooked tools, are some of the diagnostic blood tests. I'm not talking about CAT scans and things like that, but I am talking about the basic tests to measure for different types of diseases and conditions. Diagnostic blood tests are like a personal report card, so some of us get them annually, some of us get them more often, and some of us don't get them at all. But they are basically your check in on how you are doing. More and more they can flag different types of conditions. Different types of treatments that could be available, and tailor things to individuals. These diagnostics are so important that they influence 60-70% of healthcare decision making for physicians.
So in terms of chronic disease and I know it's a little hard to read here, these are some of the primary verse factors that are relevant to predicting further disease or preventing disease. These are some of the things that people monitor or track, some of these you can do something about. You can't do much about aging. Well, we can't do much about that, we all know that. These are things to understand and take better care of yourselves. Even for nine preventable diseases, sometimes early detection makes the difference in the prognosis of an individual in terms of whether or not they are able to get well.
So, what do you want in your life for you, for your family, for your friends, for your parents for your community? This is why being healthy matters, in order to achieve the goals you have in your life for you and your family, you have to be healthy. You have to know what your health status is, it's never too late to definite what's healthy for you. Unfortunately find out they are not healthy when they are already sick. You know there is a continuum here from wellness to being at risk, to being diagnosed with something. That's a more serious thing, but on each one of those steps a long the way there is an opportunity to learn something new about your health status through diagnostics and take some action or change some behavior. When that happens, a person that has that information and working in partnership and knows what action to take, it can get them back on track in terms of the roles and what they want to do in life.
So, with the right information, health and wellness can be just as important and probably more important then just illness and in terms of the healthcare conversation and right now all we are talking about is illness, primarily.
Okay, the information alone isn't enough. I've said before that, you know, that some people have a bit of information overload. Some people aren't getting information at all. Part of the challenge is changing how information is delivered and what information we are using. Currently a lot of diagnostics that we get done routinely, large centralized places. You go into your doctors office for your check up, they order some bloodwork, it goes out to the lab somewhere, it comes back. You may or may not talk to your doctor about them, if there is a problem you might have to go back for a second visit. Some people don't go back for that second visit, some people don't hear back at all, so the model is a little inefficient. So we need to move from a model in which diagnostics are annual to diagnostics that are more frequent to diagnostics that might not be timed when there is teachable moments, to diagnostics that are integrated into the dialogue of the healthcare. Imagine if you could have access to information that is vital to making a decision on the spot. You spend the time, you've gone into your doctor and you can learn right there and then, and ask questions about that information.
We need to move from a place from just having the information to really having to really having a conversation about the information. Pairing test results that we get that are some times complicated and hard to understand for the right person, with a conversation and feedback and followup, you will need to support them in their own health journeys.
So the practice of medicine today, well it isn't proving is sometimes set up to indicate with us what's wrong. But we could start to look at diagnostics in a very different way, in a paradigm, to tell people how to stay healthy, or how tell them to get healthy again. Blood tests are one of those ways, and they are a very powerful tool to help that. We want to be able to change the conversations from fighting disease to preventing disease. From the waiting sickness to embracing wellness, and to be able to make better choices and understand what those are.
But if we're able to make some strides in transitioning from treatment focused care to more wellness focused care, and prevention focused care, we need to look at and really start to dig under what some different approaches are, and what some best practice is. What are some ways to communicate to consumers and promote best practice interaction and results. Health literacy in this country is a challenge even for the well educated. Even for those who have college degrees and consider themselves to be smart. Some of that basic health information can be a bit overwhelming and a bit challenging. At Ortho Clincal Diagnostics, we've made a commitment to looking at health literacy when it comes to lab results. And also looking at some different approaches to educate and empower patients and to help them work with their health care providers better so that it's not just about a point in time with the test, so that it's really about their life time.
One of the ways we've done this is by partnering with the National Association Chronic Disease Directors. We started out just by getting some information, basic information on what people think about lab tests, what people know about their lab tests. We surveyed about a thousand people across the US to better understand what the state of blood testing was in their minds. And we found that people do want to participate in their health, there is an eagerness, but they don't always understand or pay attention to their test results. And that's for a variety of reasons, they come at a bad time, they are emailed or mailed afterwards, or there's no follow up. When they do understand, they tend to take action, and that's what we found. Among consumers who reported an awareness and understanding of their numbers, more than a third actually made a decision to take a positive lifestyle change such as changing in eating habits, maintaining health visits or paying more attention to some of the day to day behaviors to improve their health.
For those who reported that they did not make changes following the results of blood tests, nearly 90% of them said they got good results back.
So, there's some barriers that stand in the way of having more a consumer focused, educated and empowered and an empowered health system, but everyone can make a difference. So what can be done? There is education regarding testing, general healthy literacy, looking at incorporating blood testing into wellness routines, or health screenings into wellness routines. Again, some of this is built into the components of the health law. Training programs for health care providers to help them improve communications with patients and blood tests. I'll give you a personal and perfect example.
I've been with my primary care physician for ten years, because when I get my annual check up, I get a nice report card, but also a love note from the doctor's office that goes through each set of those numbers and explains what they are, what I need to do different and what I can do better. When that doctor retired, he had the nurse practioners in that office take over that task. It doesn't always happen, but I appreciate that. It's helped me on my journey to being better.
For test results though to be leverages as a decision making tools, for consumers, individuals also have to get the tests in a timely manner. We're all busy, and having test results come 8 weeks later, is not always really helpful and doesn't necessarily set people up for the best opportunity to have an informed and engaged dialogue with their health care providers.
In the survey that I mentioned, we did find that 90% of those people who were surveyed did have a preference to have those discussions about their test results with their physicians in their offices. But only about 40% had actually done so, mostly because of the process and standards that currently get followed, but also because of some of the technology that prevents on the spot testing. And that will be changing.
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors have also been partnering to improve how information is delivered, we realize that health literacy is a challenge, and we realize that sometimes that even being able to prepare to ask questions of a physicians support. One of things we did to help facilitate the dialogue in the physicians office around basic core lab results, is start and know your numbers campaign. Some of the information from this program is going to be available at the change A suite in the the room mercury rotunda. But, just to show you some of this, it's sheets that people can take to their doctors, just with basic questions. What a sample lab report looks like, all those letters and numbers and what that means. Access to information that really tells people how blood test work, and what they do and resources to go to for information. We've been working NACDD to distribute these materials in public health settings, to work through them, to work through civic organization to give the information out and to help people engage in a more informed dialogue.
One of the other things we are doing though, is there a way to shift the paradigm? We're in the early stages with the NACDD, with a program in which, where patients can come in, have their lab tests, information available because they have ordered some of it ahead of time, and then actually engage in a discussion in the doctor's office. We're going to explore in this pilot program with the NACDD whether actually shifting paradigm and giving people what they said they would prefer, which is having that discussion, actually has results and better outcomes.
So in the meantime where can you go for information? There is lots of information on a variety of a websites. But I think two of the ones I would recommend the most highly in terms of lab testing and knowing more about what these tests are, labtestsonline.org which has information for over a hundred different type of lab tests, and it's written for the patient and for the consumer. And also the government provides a wealth of information, particularly through their healthypeople.gov website.
So if you can pursue the path to the purpose in life, whatever that may be, I hope that it starts with three thoughts that represent the vision at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics that we share every day with our employees and our stakeholders, to be healthier, to feel better, and to be live longer.
Thanks for having me.
UNABLE TO HEAR AUDIO CLEARLY.
Moderator: Can you guys come take the stage? Unable to hear the remaining audio clearly, not mic'd.
AV Flox: Hello ladies! Welcome to our panel. We're here to talk about technology and how we use it to keep ourselves healthy and to change our lives for the better. SO we're going to go through really quickly and introduce ourselves, we'll start with Carmen.
Carmen: Hi I'm Carmen Staicer. My website is momtothescreamingmasses.typepad.com, I haven't gotten rid of the typepad yet. I have 6 kids, and those are my kids there. I am on this panel because 5 years ago, I decided to get healthy and I lost 80 lbs. Full disclosure, I had a very serious injury, I tore my calf muscle and I gained back some weight so I need to actually practice what I preach, but that's why I am on this panel. I am a big technology person, I am always with my phone when I am exercising, I am going to discuss how I integrate the technology with my phone and my exercise.
Cathy: Good afternoon, I'm Cathy Metzger, my role is merchandise director for the health and fitness category for Best Buy. And why I am here, I have 16 years experience for buying in inventory management in various different areas that women care about. I've been invited today, I'm not a BlogHer, but I am very excited to be here. This is a really growing industry which is health and fitness and the connected devices piece. We'll talk a little more about our favorite devices a little later. I'm able to see what is coming up in the next three months, six months, a year out. And able to influence our manufacturers and vendors regarding what we want on these devices, so that's why I am here today.
Panelist: We've lost our slides. So. Um. Let's see if we can get Shannon back in here....
AV Flox: I've moderator of this panel, I'm AV Flox, and I am the section editor of Health on BlogHer.com. So I will turn it over to...
Katrina: I'm Katrina Ferlick, I'm a physician, I've spent 13 years as a neurosurgeon, I wrote a book called a day in the frontal lobe which is meant for the average consumer. More recently was co-founder and chief medical officer of a company called HealthPrize. I am a little bit of an oddball on this panel in the sense, what my company does is motivates people to stay with their prescription medication, what we have found in designing our online and mobile platform, is that, no matter what healthy behavior you are trying to motivate people to adopt, whether it's fitness, healthy eating or taking a prescription medication for high blood pressure, there are sort of common themes. Some of those themes are that health is often a long term reward, and it's hard to use it today if the reward is 10 years from now. The human brain loves short term rewards, you'll notice a theme with these apps and these websites, is that they gives you short term rewards. Often these apps and websites, often give you a sense of community because it's good to know other people in the same boat, people love competition, gamification techniques are very helpful to keep people going and to motivate them. So regardless of the healthy behavior you are trying to adopt, these are very common themes you will see in these apps because they work.
AV: Thank you. Since we're having a little bit of a trouble with the slide presentation right now, we're going to open the floor and allow you guys to ask us questions. You can ask us about any apps, or other kinds of technology that you think might be helpful to us. Or you can share about any specific technology that you have found helpful right now. Do we have a mic wrangler? Do we have a mic wrangler?
Audience Member: I just wanted to, it was just follow up to what you are saying, the brain requires short term rewards, is there is any other technologies, or other things that you have seen work really well?
Katrina: Yeah, some of the fitness apps in particular that Carmen was talking about, and um, potentially the all of the panelist. But, in these short term rewards, they are used in commerce all the time, they are just now being brought into healthcare. I'd like to see a show of hands, how many people pay attention to their credit card points and actually redeem those points. So many people. How many care about the miles? So these are the sort of things, that work very well in the world of commerce and people use them all to brand loyalty to help people stay with one thing versus the other. These are sort of the immediate rewards I am talking about, they are sort of simple level. People want to know that they take medications they will get their points. The same thing with fitness apps, sometimes you can earn virtual points, or sometimes get the immediate feedback that you are getting toward your goal, or that sort of "atta boy." These sorts of things help in the short time.
Carmen: We'll talk about this a little later, as we talk about the apps and the devices, but that's really what it's about, how do you get that receive that instant gratification. There are apps that are coming out or they are out, where there are contributions where you can track how many steps you take and then you can convert that and give those steps to a charity and that company donates that to that charity, so there is a lot of social application to this. As well as just ways to motivate, whether it's yourself, or your husband or your children. That;'s what it's all about, it's about the whole unification, it's kind of how do you get hooked on it, and run with it.
Audience Member: Hi my name is Amanda and I work for a start up called cheat freely, we basically do a gluten free subscription service, and we'd love to leverage technology in order to help people make healthy eating decisions. Are there certain types of technology that people are more apt to use? There is the iPhone, there is the jawbone came out, there is a number of fitness watches, but sort of how are people using technology to make healthy eating decisions on a daily basis?
Carmen: Actually a really good time, now that I have my slides back. I'm going to talk about the apps. The picture is of me with my son, on his 20th, we did the color me ride run, and that was the most fun I've had in my life. I'm going to go to apps. So, as a personal story, I have kind of a hard time staying motivated, it was really easy to stay motivated when I was losing the weight and when I could see the scale go down, and I could chart it. I could say, "Yeah, I'm doing a great job," but maintaining is so much more work than I thought it was going to be. And so, I have become a big user of my phone to keep me motivated, and some of the apps that I have found successful, and others have as well.
How many people in this room have ever used couch to 5k? It's huge. And, I can't tell you the number of people have said to me, I will never ever run, I'll never run, I'm not a run, but couch to 5k is an app that you can put on your phone, and you can hook it up with jog FM...has anyone ever heard of that one? It will go into your playlist, and when you start running, it will pull songs from your playlist to keep you at that pace, but it also works with Couch to 5K so it can keep you moving. I have friends that use that Nike Training Club, and they love it because when they are out on their run, you can go and Facebook, 'Hey Shannon, you are doing an excellent job" and that will be delivered to your phone, and you will hear it actually when you are running. Map My Run is also very good. A lot of times I will go in my neighborhood, and I won't have my Garmin or my GPS and I'll want to know how far I ran, later I can figure out how far I went, and I can say that was 4.2 miles, or however. So it helps me to keep track of things.
I also use online. A lot. Does any of these here?
Which ones are popular?
Spark People, Daily...I use Daily Mile all the time. And that's me on daily Mile and I have a comment from our lovely moderator, but there's no miles on there because I don't run anymore because my leg is messed up. But daily mile I like, it feels a little like a community, I can put my workout on there and I can say if it's good workout or a bad work out. People will come and say, "that was a good run, way to get a run in, the humidity is bad". All of these things help me to feel like I am not exercising by myself. If I am struggling and I go for example and go on Twitter, and I go to the Plank a Day. It's easy and Plank A Day is something I fail at every day.
Does anyone do plank a day? It's a minute, how can you not do a minute? Yet every night, I go, "Ohhhh, I didn't plank!" You can join the group on Twitter, and people will come after you and say, "It's a minute, do it you slacker". Sometimes it feels like nagging, it's like your mom is over there asking if you put on your clean underwear, but it helps you to feel like you were accountable to someone. It's hard to be accountable to yourself sometimes. So what I was wondering if there's any other... let's do blogs too.
Sometimes I just don't want to do it. I don't want to do it. I want to sit on my couch and I want to eat six cupcakes. To heck with what it is. I will, these are just some of the blogs that I follow. I wouldn't say religiously, I would say routinely. But, the thing these have in common is that they are all honest people. They are all honest about saying, "I want to sit on my couch and eat cupcakes today, but I didn't and I went out and exercised". My friend Tony is the Anti-Jerrod, and he's very honest the fact that he's lost a tremendous amount of weight, but every day is a struggle, and every day is difficult, so I use a lot of those blogs to keep me motivated, and I also use twitter like a fiend. I go on Twitter and say, "Renee I don't feel like exercising today" and Renee says, "Get off your butt and get out there". So using your friends, in the online world to keep you motivated is probably my biggest, my biggest inspiration. So, I wondered if any of you had anything to speak on the apps, or the Twitter or the blogs.
AV: Hi, I use what is it, McToversy? You log your workouts, and you get points and it sends it to Twitter, and I made all my friends join, and when they have more points then me and I go back and I try to figure out how many points I need. And it's nice, we're all, I'm getting married this month, so we're all, all my bridesmaids are like in this battle to see who can have the most point.
Panelist: It becomes like a oneupmanship.
AV: They'll go multiple times, and I went back to the gym and I got 12000 points, and then I'm like, but I want 12000 points! You know? We can literally spend all day in the gym going back and forth. So I think it's fun, and it adds a bit of competition.
Panelist: It is a competition because you don't want your friends to show you up, not that I would say is competition is a bad thing. A little bit of healthy bit of motivation is good.
Panelist: I think it's definitely a good thing. Before I joined daily mile, and I am trying to stabilize my weight, not really lose it. I have weight management issues. So it's not like I am looking at a scale, there is nothing really exciting, it's never really been awesome for me. So now I'm going to sweat, and that sucks. But then Carmen made me join daily mile. You know I'm being lazy and lounging around and I'll see she's worked out. One hour of Zumba. You know what, I'm going to get on the way.
It's really awesome.
Katrina: We had a funny experience. We did a pilot of our program with patients on medications for asthma and COPD. But we included competition; every time you refill it or every time you take it, you would get points. We had a woman email us saying she was going in for major surgery and was worried about losing her number one status on the leader boards. And...I mean, people really get fanatical. Not every one, but a certain sub-section of people who use this app, get fanatical about the competion. That's what's great, harness that, and the competitive spirit really does help with the motivation. Behavioral ecnomists call this reward substitution; what you are really trying to do is get the reward of the health, but the competitive spirit and the winning, is what you get along the way.
AV: We had another question somewhere.
Audience Member: My question is for Katrina. I have advanced stage 3 breast cancer, and so, I was an endurance athlete when I was diagnosed. It was the radiation, and the anti-depressants, that made it so I couldn't work out. Now I'm on.... Do you have any advice on how to get re-motivated, or get the energy back? Is there anything I can do?
Katrina: Gosh, I think all these motivational type things, in these apps and these websites, they kind of apply across the board. I see you have special challenges above and beyond.
Right, it's a physical challenge.
Katrina: Yes, that's right. It is a physical challenge, but that's something that you might have to bring up with your doctor, regarding your own prescriptions and regiment. But when it comes to the psychological aspect of motivation, not the physical, that is what the apps are really good at. I can't really comment on the health of it, but when it comes to the psychology of it, that's what these apps are all about.
Carmen: I have a suggestion for you possibly, if I may? Within some of these apps, there are subgroups, and you can create your own team, and your own community. Reach out to other women who are feeling like you that may have have breast cancer, ovarian cancer, whatever. Create a team for just that purpose.
AV: Two more over here, and then we'll move on.
Audience Member: You know, and she said, and it completely reminded me, a community like Spark People, that was previously mentioned. If you go there, and I think it's like groups.sparkpeople.com, you can search what kind of groups are there. Even if you don't have...you may not even have to create your own group and hope that people search for it. You can see, it's very likely, spark People has tons of members. It's very likely that there are people there who are dealing with the same things you are dealing, and are all working to inspire each other, or at least provide resources to each other, to make it easier to do what you want to do.
Carmen: You can also ask on Twitter. Don't underestimate putting it out there, and say, "I have breast cancer and I have this question". You'll be surprised at how many people will come out of the woodwork.
Panelist or Audience Member: Carmen, I just wanted to mention one of the sites that wasn't on the list, and that's stickk.com Their interested, they have a little twist called the anti-charity, which is semi-helpful for some people. So you put your own money in the beginning, if you meet your goal, by the end of your milestone, then your money gets donated to the charity of your choice. Say you are democrat, it could go to the democratic campaign. But if you don't meet your goal, it will go to Mitt Romney. So it's charity in the end, and it's sort of using the carrot and the stick.
We had one other question and then we are going to move on.
Audience Member: I use some of these apps, but one of th ebiggest motivators in the last year, and part of the reason I began blogging was that I joined a diet group on line. This group, the person who runs it, send every single day, even though you get all this information up front, "What are you going to eat?" Here are some recipes, and here are some things to think about today, it was always something fresh and new. Until I realized, the diets, 6 weeks or 7 weeks and it recycles it. And then it's like Uh-Oh, she's not writing anything new, and she's got to design an app for that. And I've been thinking, that would be just so great, to have that little extra something, while you are on your run today, or try this. So it's always something new, but...
Carmen: When you have extra time, go in the app store, and enter exercise. There are quadrillions of them, and a lot of them are reviewed, so you can look at them and see, there are ones out there that will give you motivation.
Katrina: I won't spend too much time on this, and it's slightly off topic because I am really focused on medication adherence. Which in the end, actually is a a very similar to sticking with fitness or nutrition. People often thinks it's a cost issue, or simply a forgetfulness issue and it's actually mostly a psychological motivational issue. In other words f you have high cholesterol -- one of my mentors in medicine once said, all of human diseases is caused by three things, bad genes, genetics, bad luck, and bad habits. Now we're talking about bad habits here, and trying to promote healthier habits, sometimes no matter what you do, you are still going to have high cholesterol, and you have to take medicine. So what our platform does, both online and mobile is give you instant rewards, say every time you take a pill. We track refills, you can't just lie about taking your pills, but we track when you actually refill. But then we tie in education, in a very heavy way. We give weekly quizzes, that are about your disease state, and also general health, nutrition and fitness. And we give points every time you take a quiz. In the surveys, we found out that taking the quizzes what the second favorite activities in the app and earning points. So, again we're you know, similar to many of these apps, whether it's healthy behavior, exercising, eating right, taking medication is very similar, and sometimes you have to motivate them to take a medication that will help them down the line. Now fitness has the benefit of making you potentially making you feel better that day, taking medication doesn't always. The themes are very similar though, and this is kind of an example of what our program looks like online. You can track your score, choosing a lot of the gamification elements, a variable number of points every time you check. We also use fear of regret, is kind of the stick, we show you how many points you could have earned had you checked in. For some people that's a more powerful motivator than earning the points. Whenever I see that in an app, I think it's a really good idea. Because people really do care, you might have missed 100 points, that's a big motivator not to miss those points.
Audience Member: Is there age limit for this app? I have a 12 year old who is very, very non-compliant about her asthma meds. It's not that I allow her to give them to herself. Even if I am standing there, she'll say she'll say she already took it. Is there an age limit?
Katrina: Yeah, we haven't done. There are some tricky issues around the financial incentives with kids, so we haven't done any program with kids yet. But we are moving in that directions, so keep checking back to healthprize.com. We would love to invent that realm.
We can move on to the next...
Audience Member: I'm sorry, forgive me, the woman that works at Best Buy. I'm curious to know how many people go to Best Buy, most people go to specialty shops, like if you run, you go to the running store. How often are people actually going to Best Buy for fitness related stuff, and are you guys guiding them to it? Because I've never noticed a section.
Cathy: We're actually, it's an emerging category, it's something that we are trying to build, and we're trying to build awareness. You'll see us more often at race events, and events like BlogHer. As well as other ways to generate awareness. I don;'t think everyone knows about the cool devices that are out there, and how the devices make it easy to go on your iPad, iPod, your android, your computer and make it really easy in your busy life. So that's why Best Buy is in it. It's really about the connected devices, there is a bunch of devices out there. there are pedometers, watches that you can get, GPS and heart rate watches, basically anything at the specialty store. At Best Buy we're focused on, how do you take a device that is really easy and it's about connectivity. If you go to Best Buy, our experts will help you connect it and help you work it with all your devices. But it's emerging, we've only been in this category for a year and a half. So it's growing. So if you go to our stores, and we do have them in New York stores, or bestbuy.com, you'll see that we do have a lot of different devices. But there are some that are really popular and I know we'll talk about...actually one, FitFit. I carry my FitFit, I think a lot of women might know FitFit, but this is one of the great devices, that is out there, and it's a great. It says I did no stairs today. But just in my hand, how many steps I took, converts it to stairs, how many calories I burned. It will also, once I buy my PC, or my computer, it will download and update my smartphone. So, what's great about that, that it helps me have real-time, what am I doing to be active? So this is a device that is really popular and it's very, female friendly. It's small, and discreet, so you can put it on your body wherever you want to. So these are some of the devices we are getting into, and we're really trying to highlight and tell the customer are out there, and how easy they are to use. I am not a big workout person, I am starting more, but what I need, what I think is some of us, we're all really busy, and we're trying to figure out how to fit your workout in, or just be more active in your hectic lifestyle. This helps me, like for instance, instead of parking as close to the door as possible, I park further away so I can get the steps in for those calories. It's simple things like that, that will help me. There are also devices that are great for your children or your spouse, and then getting them more motivated as well.
Do we want to talk about some of the other ones? Okay!
Night plus is a wonderful. As we're talking about these devices, there are a ton of devices out there, and me and my senior merchant, we go out and we see them. Vendors are always trying to pitch you. Here's the device you have, here's what you should have. What we look for, it needs to be easy to use and intuitive. You can't make it complicated, or you are not going to pick up and use it every day. What's great about NightPlus, or in particular, or the night GPS watches, it has all the gadgets you need, so you it can monitor your calories burned, tracking your GPS, whether it's indoor or outdoor, but then there is a whole community online that you can go to. You can also compete. It gives you that APP piece, where it can help motivate you and build that community. It's not just having a device by itself but how that device motivates you or helps you track then connecting it to the online community or back to that app.
Panelist: I actually was wondering how many people in this room have used a Garmin. Has anyone? What do you think about it? Before I go and do what I think about it. Do you like it?
Audience Member: I mean, like I am a serious runner, I want to know my instant time, and I want to know all that thing. I like it on my watch. More and more I am moving to carrying my phone. If I am traveling, I don't want to bring one more thing to get lost or stolen. And it has all the information. If I am going out for a short run, or something like that, it's already got my music and everything on it. For my long runs, or everyday stuff, I use my garmin. More and more people are telling me to get the app on the phone.
Carmen: I find the garmin to be, it can be an obsession for me. I have that part of me, in my brain, will become obsessed. Oh I can cut 10 seconds off, I did 10 seconds yesterday. I consciously had to put the Garmin away. It was something that became... I was not enjoying any walks or runs I did because I was so focused on my time, and where was my heart rate, and did I beat my time, that I had to take a step back. But, if you use a Garmin, do then not use your phone, or are more people moving from Garmin to phone I guess is my question?
Katrina: I don't use Garmin, I use Polar. Is that the same? Polar is a heart rate monitor, and I have the footpods, so it does all the same thing. It just doesn't have GPS monitor. I have been working out for so long that I use it for my heart rate, and it's indispensable to me.
Carmen: It's funny how something can be indispensable to me, and I say I swear by JogFM, it seems to be very very personal for what works for you. What keeps you motivated, might not keep her motivated, or keep her motivated, so it's about finding what works for you.
Audience Member: I love my Garmin, shy of the fact that they don't let you replace the batteries. I hate that. I like them, it makes me work harder, and see my time. It's obsessive, but I also don't carry a phone with me. I like to be disconnected when I am running. I like the fact of being able to just go out and have something on my arm, and not have to worry about anything. I get distracted easily, my phone vibrates, and I have to take a peek. With the watch, I just have to focus on competing with myself.
Carmen: That's a good point, a really good point.
Audience Member: I don't use the Garmin. I use a Polar, and I just wanted this exposure. I am an ambassador for them, and I became an ambassador because I use it so often. What I like about it is, that it's a training computer, and you can upload the information that is on your watch, onto their website, and you can see your training, whether or not you are improving. There are a lot of different components, that I don't know if people are aware, and what you can actually do. Let's say if you want to do weight loss, they'll give you a training program, that will say you have hit your target zone, so it's more then tracking how far you have gone, but more of how much work you have done in additions to some other things. So that might be a good alternative, if you are looking for a little bit different, something a little bit different from garmin. They have communities and challenges online, so polar is a good alternative.
Audience Member: Unable to hear.
Carmen: To piggy back off of all of the polar appreciation that's going on here. I think that one of the things that is important about having something that can also monitor your heart as you workout. So often when we workout, we underestimate our abilities or sometimes we think we are working harder then we actually are. Sometimes having that zone thing, and then, you know challenging yourself but also keeping track. You know my heart shouldn't be around 173, maybe I should slow down, but I think that having that gauge allows you to work smarter. Then you know, which in turn, allows you to work harder. For some people, for me, I was the person who had cardio fear, every time my heart started racing, it was like, uh-huh, it was like I had to stop. Now I have something that can tell me exactly how hard I am going, and what it is doing to my body. I can work out more comfortably. Some things are indispensable to others, but knowing the type of things that are out there, what they can do for you, is also one of those things for all of us, is indispensable. I think.
Audience Member: I have a garmin, and I love it. Mine came with a heart rate monitor, but I never use it. What I like about my garmin is that I can, if I am doing one of my long runs, because I run marathons, so if I am going on a run, and it's super long, I don't have to plan my entire course. I can just go in one general direction, and then get my distance, and then I take the metro back home. I like the garmin because it charges with my mileages, and it tells me how far I am going, and it syncs with the satellite, so it's fairly accurate. It's not perfect, but I like that I don't have to map out a route in advance if I don't want to. Sometimes I do, and I like that I have that freedom.
Audience Member: One more thing, I'm not sure if Garmin has this, but Polar, I'm a tri-athlete, so, I have a band that tracks my running, and when I switch transition to bike, I have the polar computer on my bike, so it just picks off with where I left off, so that's one thing. Especially if you are having multiple things, it's nice to not have to change. If they would just come up with swimming, I'd be really happy.
Cathy: It's like the polar team and the garmin team. I love this conversation because it just shows that you have your unique for what you have, and there are so many devices out there, and the one thing I'll say, is there going to be even more and more devices to make it easier for you, for what you need. In the stuff that is coming to market, there will be more that is coming to the market in the next year, and over the holidays. This is such an emerging market, that we're just hitting the tip of the ice cap for what's available. We're out there saying that they need to make something that is easy and useful for your consumers so they want to gravitate and go back to it. I guess I have, a little bit of heartrate conversation. How many of you actually use the strap for your heart rate monitoring? How many of you don't do heartate monitors because of the strap?
Carmen: Me, right here.
Cathy: So one of the new technologies that are actually exists to today, but it's not yet at market yet, they are actually trying to make sure they work, and they are actually trying to see if they can measure your heartrate through your earphones. So look for that in the future. With all these new devices, and these techie devices, the most important thing is that they test, test, test, so they do what they are supposed to do. I heard someone mention Jawbone earlier. Jawbone is a great product, they launched their up, believe last year, we had a recall on it. After they sold thousands and thousands, after the first couple of weeks. Because it wasn't it up to what they wanted it to be, not that the device was faulty, it was just the whole app experience and the whole experience you have, so they will be launching that again in October, because we do think there is a lot of pent up demand for what that device with the app, with the things it can do for you. So these are things, again, as it might be a little slower to market of why there is not more devices out there today, because technology is everywhere, but the manufacturers really want to make sure this stuff launches the first time, right. And that we don't have it....
Carmen: Most people want to be able to use it and they want it to work. They don't want to know how it works, but it could be sort of patronizing, but mostly I just want to turn it on and go. Does that sound? You want to turn it on, and you want to go, and you want to know what you've done, and that's good to know that there is new things coming out.
Audience Member: Well, there's obviously no lack of equipment or tracking for diet or fitness, but one of the things I struggle with is relying on my intuition, and my instincts when I have those tools, like if I am running with runkeeper, and it tells me what my pace is, I completely see how you become obsessive. I'm curious, at what point do you realize that you are obsessive with tracking with every calorie.
That is a really good point, and that is actually in the next panel, about obsessions. It's about taking these devices too far, because I have done that. It becomes obsession...it's the best word for it. That's actually addressed in the next panel.
I have a question about the phones and battery, because I love map my walk. And I'm a marathon walker, not runner, so when you walk 30 miles in a day, it takes from 8am to 6pm, with a lunch break. This doesn't cut it. I would love to be able to track it, my husband is a cyclist and he says a cycle meter can also be used for walking and running, and that's a little better. So I am wondering if anyone has come up with an app where your battery doesn't die when you are going out for intensive amounts of time.
Carmen: That's something I struggle with all the time..
Cathy: What I will tell you, depending on what you run on your phone, and granted I am not blue shirt geek squad person here. What I have heard, depending on what you have running on your phone, that's your drain. If you are running a lot of apps at the same time, or you are listening to music and you are using your wifi, and it's roaming, that's going to suck up your battery. So if you are concerned about that, and you don't need your roaming or your wifi on, turn it off. Don't have as many apps going on. But still, or don't use your email or message as much. When I do a heavy meeting day and I'm on my email all day, I won't get until 3 in the afternoon. There are some battery packs that will basically give you a full charge, I actually someone blogged about it today, the mofi juice pack. Do you have mofi, do you have it? There is also, I'll show it to you
Katrina: There is actually solar units that re-charge also.
Cathy: Where is the solar?
Katrina: I forget the name of the company, but you put it on the back of your phone.
Carmen: Do you really, wow!
Cathy: Here is the other mofi juice pack as well, it comes in fun little colors. And it just hooks up really easily to your iPhone. In case you don't want that bulky battery on the back either. There are different options that are out there, because we know battery life is a concern. One other thing that is out there, is woman's handbags, will actually start having power in the handbags.
Katrina: So the solar company is voltaic, and they make a handbag that recharges.
Cathy: I'm sorry, who does it?
Katrina: Voltaic, they make a backpack and a handbag that recharge your batteries.
Carmen: The only problem being if you are running, you are not carrying a handbag. When I had used the mofi case, and that works well, but you would pull off your regular case, and slap the other one on, and it's a little bit thicker but it still fits into my arm bag.
I have tried these different devices against other people, and the accuracy is completely different. You can have a strive and fitfit, and a polar and garmin and you can say go, and there is a pretty big variation, if someone wanted to do a real service they would start to compare accuracy.
That's a great point.
Audience Member: My husband just bought, a fuel band, and actually he bought it at the Nike Store, and I said that I gave him three weeks. I knew he already had the intrinsic motivation to run, he was just getting it because it was fun. So he didn't need it for motivational purposes, and I actually bought a Vegetable Chopper from Williams Sonoma, and he said, I give you two weeks for that too. I'm still using the vegetable chopper, it's been a week and he's starting to lose interest in his fuel band. But one reason he said, that he knows it's inaccurate. He mapped the run and he knew it was 4, but it said 3. He's kind of lost faith in it.
Audience Member: Unable to hear.
Panelist: It's not about the accuracy, it's not about being athletic it's not about heart rate, it's the basic problem of movement. Any movement is good.
AV: That's what I like about Daily Mile, and I could say I ran 27 miles today, and people would know that wasn't true. It wasn't calibrating my distances, or putting me against anyone, but it's putting it out there. The thing I like about daily mile, is that it does your Facebook and Twitter. It keeps it on one thing.
Cathy: That's a key point, what is the purpose of using these. For some people, when it's serious training, that's not it, it's not the tool. If you are looking for accuracy, you have to find the right device. If you are just a couch potato and you just want to move, then it doesn't matter, you just want the motivation to move. When you are talking about the health of the population, it's really the most important thing, not for the triathlete's training. It's really just to get people to start walking.
Carmen: This group is not a cross section of America. We mostly exercise. But I look at my own family, and I'm one of the only people that exercises. Most other people, might go and take a walk in the park, or something, but they don't really exercise. I think trying to figure out things that are, as the population increases in weight, and we have more issues, I think trying to find things to help motivate the most people, not necessarily accuracy, and not that accuracy isn't important, because it totally is, but I think the desire for accuracy comes after you have been motivated.
Cathy: I would just agree with the accuracy piece, being a buyer and looking at all the products I want to know what's accurate, and if I am testing all these different devices, and I'm putting them up against one another, how do I know what is going to be most accurate. Most of these devices will not claim the accuracy to x percent because they can't, because of, they are guesstimating your movement, they are based upon your stride, your weight, etc, they are making those guesstimates, I think it's important to really think about not just yourself and everyone around you to motivate them to become more active. Think about our youth, and how they are becoming, obesity is a big issue with our kids, so how do we get them excited and interested, and making these devices for kids.
There is one device on the market, that does claim, on their packaging, 99.9% accuracy, and it's called Body Media, but it's an arm band. So if you haven't heard of it, it's an armband that you have to wear all the time, it's being able to understand how much you are moving. It doesn't say, "I ran 3 miles" if you ran 3 miles with a 50 lbs weight it's going to be much more intensive then if you just ran or walked around the block. So that can actually measure that, now my feedback for them is that it's not really that user friendly, because how many people want to wear an armband 24/7? But if you really want that accurate work out, but that could help you. That could be for someone really serious about workout, or about some weight concerns, and you want to measure every single part of what you do. So they do claim the accuracy piece.
Audience Member: ....I was really glad it was winter, and I had sleeves on all the time. And, I will say the feedback was really phenomenal, it tracked my sleep cycle, when I went in and out of REM, it was very, very impressive. In the summer, I wouldn't want to be weaing it around. I tested it in the winter. It does have an online subscription thing where you can like enter your food so that way it syncs with your activity from your band and it tracks your calories. It was a really cool, and it just wasn't really realistic for me.
Cathy: We keep giving them feedback on the armband, because most people don't want that. But they are like, "Then it's not accurate", and that's what it's important to them. But again, there are all the different devices out there with what's right for the individual.
I recently had breast surgery and so my doctor was tell me all these things I needed to do. I've been trying, I have the Nike Plus, and I have tried all this stuff. I thought there was something wrong with me because I don't like any of it but what I realized was I've been working with this counselor on the whole wellness program, and my generation, there is 37 of us, I have a huge family. You weren't raised to do things on your own. So she was like, you can't do this by yourself. So now, I have a trainer, and it's like, I feel so much better.
Carmen: You have to find your tribe, you have to find your group of people, and find something you enjoy it. I mean, if you made me swim every day I would probably slit my wrists. No offense to swimmers, but I can do Zumba for 16 hours a day and be totally happy.
But I feel better when I am with a person. I can't just be online and be talking about what we did, because I wasn't even raised like that. Just from this whole wellness program, oh I can, I need to be with other people. I need to feel their energy.
Carmen: There is a lot to be said about dynamic of feeding off of each other's energy.
That's one of the reasons why Weight Watchers has been so successful, honestly. The in person meeting.
AV:That's something that you can use Twitter and social media to accomplish, by getting together with others in your area, and figuring out what works for you, and building your local tribe that way. Do we have anymore questions?
So we're quickly running out of time, we have 2 minutes. I thought we could use that time, to run over some, the other apps. Did any of you hear about the skin cancer app?
There is an app, that actually enables you to take pictures of growths on your skin and what's going on there. You can look at different comparison photos and can give you a sense of whether you should go see a doctor. There has been a backlash because they are saying you can't replace a doctor with an app, and it's a really good point. You don't want to be replacing your doctor. A lot these apps are enabling people to start having those conversations, to start think, is this growth normal? What's normal?
There is also another great app check for STD checks, it's 1.99. You get a form, and you take it to a center, and you get tested for sexually transmitted disease, and you send that in to the company that does the app, and the app will have your information with your date of testing. So you can show it to potential sexual partners, now that's really weird, but I think it's amazing because it really kind of invites that conversation.
I just wanted to ask one last question, does anyone have one favorite app that they love more than life itself that they would recommend to everyone?
Audience Member: I'm on a weight loss journey, and the one that I love is my Fitness Plan.
That's a really good one.
Audience Member: You put it in your calories, and what exercise you did, and you tell it how much you want to lose per week, and your calorie goal per day, you exercise you get a little bit back, and then it will tell you, if you have had enough iron, or potassium, and that kind of stuff.
That's a good one, a really good one.
Audience Member: Too much sodium or saturated fat, it will tell you. I love it. Love it.
Audience Member: I just wanted to add to what you said, because I love that app, when you put in your workout, and you close the day, it tell you, if you did this everyday, you would weigh this much in 5 weeks. Just seeing that number, or when you cheat, and then you look, and you see in four weeks, you'll be 10 lbs away, every day. That's my favorite part of that app.
Audience Member: The only thing I can mention is my Microsoft Kinect, and if you can't get out, you can go in and do one zumba songs, by the end the day, you are 700 calories, but it tracks your calories, your movements, you don't have to dress or go anywhere, for mom's who are stuck at home, I like kinect because you don't need any joy sticks or anything. It's a really good idea.
Audience Member: It is not an app, but it's in my photo gallery, for people who have problems with eating the wrong stuff. I take a picture of myself, and you know what I look like. Every time I look at that picture.
Carmen: I put that picture on my refridgerator.
Audience Member: I look at that picture, and I am like, "Nope!"
Carmen: We have time for one more, and then we have to wrap it up.
Audience Member: Nike Training Club app is great, for when you travel, and you can, and you are in the hotel room, and you just get those videos going, and it's perfect.
AV: that brings us to the end of our session, if you think of anymore questions that you have, you are more than welcome to tweet at us, we'd be more than happy to answer them. We will do a little summary of everything we've learned today on BlogHer, if you want go over some of the points you heard today. Thank you so much for coming out!
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