Patrick J. Skerrett

Wellocracy aims to help trackers choose and use health apps and devices

There’s something satisfying about getting immediate feedback about exercise, sleep, and other activities. That’s why more and more people are joining the “quantified-self” movement. It involves formal tracking of health and habits, usually using apps and devices that feed data to them—from heart rate, activity, and sleep monitors to Bluetooth connected scales. I haven’t yet become a full-fledged member, partly because having so many apps and connected devices on the market makes it hard to decide which ones are worth trying.

I’m hoping that Wellocracy will help. This website, launched by the Harvard-affiliated Center for Connected Health, aims to give people like me impartial information about fitness trackers, mobile health apps, and other self-help technologies.

Wellocracy lists dozens of sleep trackers, wearable activity trackers, mobile running apps, and mobile pedometer apps, each with a mini-review and a “what we wish it had” listing. The site lets you compare apps and devices in each of the four categories. The compare feature isn’t yet as helpful as those from Consumer Health Reports, but that may be coming.

The site also provides a guide for beginners like me, and offers tips for adding activity “bursts” throughout the day.

“There are millions of people struggling to eat well, exercise, manage a chronic disease or decrease other health risks. Wellocracy will help them select and use digital health tools, understand their individual motivations, and make incremental lifestyle changes that can easily be incorporated into busy schedules,” said Wellocracy founder, Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

One theme the site promotes is “stickiness.” That means finding motivational strategies, apps, and devices that help you stay on track to achieve your goals. You can calculate your “stickiness factor” on the website.

Maybe the information on Wellocracy is enough to nudge me from contemplation to action.

Comments:

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  4. Dan

    If you thought smoking hookah was safer than sucking on a cigarette, your logic is a little hazy, finds new research from the University of California, San Francisco.

    A small but thorough experiment involving 13 smokers found that while hookah inhalers are exposed to different types of cancer-causing substances than cigarette puffers, the hookah carcinogens are no less dangerous. In particular, the presence of benzene—a compound linked to leukemia—is more than twice as present in hookah smoke than in cigs, according to the research.

    That’s not all: Carbon monoxide levels nearly tripled among the hookah smokers compared to cigarette inhalers, the study shows. Why’s that a problem? That extra CO torpedoes your blood’s ability to transport oxygen, which ups your risk for heart attack, stroke, or sudden death if you have any known (or unknown) heart or lung conditions, explains study coauthor Peyton Jacob, Ph.D.

    • sumeet kaul

      Smoking is the bad habbit,smoking is the main cause of cancer
      if you want to live healthy life then plz we should leave thats bad habbit.Its possible with the healp of regular exercise and mediation&healing courses

  5. Richard Corner

    This is great! I love the idea that they make an andriod app for health because everyone can now monitor their health and help them achieve their goals.

  6. Nick W.

    I’m always looking for great health apps I can suggest on our own site. I’ll be trying this one out later today. Argus is another great one you may want to consider writing about. It passively tracks your movements to calculate steps taken, calories burned, etc. It’s pretty intensive.

    I’ll be sharing this on our social media.

    Thanks!

  7. anna

    Fantastic article, it’s so helpful to me, and your blog is very good.