Health IT according to the most connected man in the world


Chris Dancy, known as the most connected man in the world, visited WHINN’16, and gave a speak on how digital networks, wearables and other smart technologies influence our life’s and transform our approach to healthcare.

Smart gadgets, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest game changer since the smartphone. The explosion of smartwatches, fitness trackers and other connected devices measures health data as newer before and helps us keep track of our state of health by monitoring our calorie intake, blood pressure, physical activity, sleep pattern, etc. The possibilities are endless, and this also affects our approach to health and healthcare.

The American software developer, Chris Dancy, have adopted the new technologies to a full scale. Known as the most connected man in the world, Chris Dancy is surrounded by technology 24/7. By utilizing up to 700 sensors, devices, applications, and services to track, analyse, and optimize his life - from calorie intake to spiritual well-being, Chris Dancy is able to see connections of otherwise invisible data, resulting in dramatic upgrades not only to his health, but also to productivity, and quality of life.

Chris Dancy visited Week of Health and Innovation, WHINN’16, in October in Odense, and gave a key note speak at the event ‘Healthcare from you Living Room’. The event was organized by Delta in collaboration with Welfare Tech Innovation Network for Health and Welfare Technology, MedTech Innovation and Ministry of Higher Education and Science and gave an exciting insight into how technologies will influence our future and future healthcare.

- We are entering a brand new world were people are part of cybernetic systems - automatically. A child born in the USA today will never drive a car, because the cars will be autonomous. Yet we are not talking very importantly about what that means for each one of us, and how we live, work and love in a world that is controlled by devices on our bodies and in our homes. We are just to give them control, and hope it works out, said Chris Dancy. 

See video: At Home with the World's Most Connected Man


A world controlled by technology

By the year 2020 there will be 70 billion smartphones on the planet with about 1 trillion sensors measuring everything. And the information we get will go deeper and deeper inside us.

- In 2008 I decided never to go offline. I was going to turn myself into the internet, so I could do things, that only someone who lived online all the time could do, said Chris Dancy. 

The first thing he did was to look at his health. He took all his medical records and put them online. Then he developed a system to track his activities: food, exercise, work, entertainment, travel, spiritually, etc. The information was collected in a calendar, online, allowing both himself, his family, friends and doctor to see what kind of day he had. 

- When I eat something bad or I was about to yell at someone, I got words at my phone that said “calm down”, “don’t need that”. Data literally saved my life, said Chris Dancy, who dropped over 110 pounds, started to eat healthier, exercised more and spend more time listening to music and do things like the arts.

The technology however, also has a flipside with the internet sliding around us, collecting data 24/7. 

- Think carefully about your future, when you put a device on your child, or when you talk to a friend who shares a location, or when you give your credit card information or your healthcare information to the government. Because all of these things are great, but they are leading to a very slippery slope, said Chris Dancy.

Great possibilities and misuse of data

Some of the biggest corporations in the world are now involved in healthcare. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, even Disney, have healthcare divisions or family units that develops systems that can register our behaviour and physical condition. Both insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are activity using health data to price and affect our behaviour as healthcare consumers. 

- Whatever you do with your phone it is spreading out. Think about that. When I go to a pharmacy and I pay for something with Apple Pay on my iWatch, at the same time it also measures my heartbeat, and my steeps, my sleep, and who I talk to. So all the information in that payment transaction is not just my credit card information anymore. It is now my life. That’s a big deal. Is it convenient? Absolutely! Is it safe? I don’t think so, said Chris Dancy. 

So when technologies and data management can lead to better healthcare services, early prevention, and user focused treatments, it can also lead to misuse of the information and loss of autonomy. 

Chris Dancy’s request was, that we all think carefully about our future and how the technology will influence our life’s. Billions of people and organisations will be connected via digital networks, with unlimited access to data, data processing and data storage. The physical, the digital and the biological world will be amalgamated, and this will have huge impact on all disciplines, economies and industries, and perhaps even challenging the idea about what it means to be human.  

See video: TED | Does being connected cost us our humanity? | Chris Dancy

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Welfare Tech is funded by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, The Southern Denmark Growth Forum and The European Regional Development Fund.