How can a speaker-like device boost my health – or help me care for someone I love?
Great question. Most of us lean on technology for everyday conveniences, even wellness-related tracking, but haven’t leveraged tech to help maintain our most precious asset: Our health.
There are reasons. Technology isn’t foolproof. It should never be a substitute for medical treatment or the sole line of defense. But combined with built-in accountability and human support, technology can unlock easy access to resources that improve and extend lives.
It’s through this lens that we created WellBe, a device that uses hands-free, voice-activated technology to plug common gaps in at-home health management – gaps like taking medication on time, appointment follow-ups, and access to health answers and support. Lapses in these areas, especially among seniors, are some of the greatest threats to health, mobility, and independence.
Voice-activated technology has gone mainstream over the last five years. By asking a device to “Turn off the kitchen lights” or “Play the Beach Boys,” one in five Americans already leans on voice recognition to free up their hands and their time. The Harvard Business Review predicts that number will reach 50% by 2022. From a functionality standpoint, WellBe’s no different than these popular devices – it speaks when spoken to. But in addition to nice-to-haves like music, WellBe offers critical and customized answers, reminders, and support for the whole family.
WellBe’s capabilities can be loosely organized into four categories:
• Personalized reminders. Once programmed, WellBe speaks up at appointed times, offering reminders to take medicine, refill prescriptions, make payments, schedule appointments, take a walk, call a friend, and more. It can be programmed in-person or remotely via the WellBe app – ideal for caregivers who aren’t nearby.
• Accountability and assurance. WellBe requires verbal confirmation that reminders have been heard. WellBe can be programmed to contact a family member or health provider if confirmation isn’t given. This is especially helpful for caregivers who can’t be there or don’t want to nag.
• Personalized answers. Once WellBe is synced with health and insurance info, ask and get immediate answers to questions related to your insurance policy.
• Authoritative health answers. WellBe is the superior, voice-activated take on health encyclopedias or online answers. Instead of flipping through pages or typing questions into the web (often a challenge for older hands), simply speak questions aloud – “WellBe, how long is a cold contagious” or “WellBe, what are the signs of a herniated disc?” – for spoken answers on the spot.