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Leveraging Digital Technology for Health Monitoring

March 26, 2024

A family doctor may guide a resident once every six or 12 months; community activities may occupy the resident a couple of times a week; and digital technology can be a faithful, constant and helpful healthcare companion to support us. 

Technologies such as smartphones and artificial intelligence are driving a proliferation of consumer digital health apps and wearables. Sensors are now incorporated in watches, rings or even clothing. Apps receive and process the data, and then deliver real-time advice or nudges to users, to encourage them to be physically active and consume the right food. 

These technologies are progressively extending into health diagnostics that are used as part of clinical care. Pulse oximeters were useful in measuring oxygen level in our blood during the COVID-19 pandemic. In time, wearables are likely to be able to measure blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and detect anomalies.

Healthy 365

In Singapore, we have had a head start in the use of health apps and wearables. For instance, a fifth of adult residents, numbering 700,000, regularly use the Healthy 365 (H365) app to participate in the National Steps Challenge, the Eat Drink Shop Healthy Challenge and other active ageing programmes.

Under Healthier SG, H365 can be the digital window to an even wider range of programmes organised by partners such as PA, HPB and SportSG. We will upgrade H365 to monitor other aspects of healthy living and make the app available in all four national languages. H365 will also be configured to be interoperable with a range of digital health apps and wearables. As it is, it is already compatible with apps and wearables from Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, etc. 

With these improvements, H365 will enable residents to individually track and consolidate lifestyle data such as step count, duration of moderate to vigorous physical activity, diet, and sleep quality. As residents monitor the progress of their own physical health closely and actively, they can use the information to update their family doctor during their scheduled check-in

Diet Logging Tool

A diet logging tool will be included on the enhanced H365 for residents to track their daily caloric intake from food and drinks. The tool will have a photo recognition function and will be powered by a comprehensive calorie and nutrient library of over 3,000 commonly consumed local food and drinks. By taking a picture of our meal, the app can estimate the caloric intake. Over time, H365 will be able to provide personalised feedback based on an individual’s dietary patterns. Dietary information can also be combined with physical activity data to provide insights on calorie balance as part of weight management.

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