Devices & Diagnostics

Zamzee brings QS data to doctors to help them motivate and monitor overweight/inactive kids

Three-in-four physicians in a recent survey said they believe self-tracking by patients could lead to better outcomes. Zamzee, a childhood fitness initiative, wanted to give those doctors a platform where they could have direct access to the activity data that patients are collecting, with the goal of helping them better target treatment programs. Developed by […]

Three-in-four physicians in a recent survey said they believe self-tracking by patients could lead to better outcomes. Zamzee, a childhood fitness initiative, wanted to give those doctors a platform where they could have direct access to the activity data that patients are collecting, with the goal of helping them better target treatment programs.

Developed by HopeLab, the same non-profit group that developed a cancer-fighting video game being distributed by Cigna, the Zamzee device is a $30 activity meter that kids slip into their pockets or clip onto their clothing. When they plug the device into a USB port, their activity data is uploaded to a web portal where they can track their progress, earn badges and rewards and compete with friends.

Next month, HopeLab will launch Zamzee for Groups, a data-collection tool that will help doctors, clinicians and other program leaders to motivate, measure and manage the physical activity of individuals and groups. Ideal for pediatric clinics or programs where exercise is prescribed for prevention or treatment, it would eliminate the need for patients to self-report data.

HopeLab says Zamzee for Groups has been piloted in pediatric weight management programs and school programs.

In an earlier six-month study in 448 middle school students, HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that use of the device and web portal was associated with activity levels that were on average 59 percent higher than a control group. They also had positive impacts on key biomarkers for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the organization said.

I hope Zamzee will study whether streaming patient activity to doctors improves those overall activity levels and biomarkers even more, not just for its own sake but for the sake of the entire mobile health community. The Center for Connected health recently published a study suggesting that use of mobile tracking devices improved patient and doctor communication and improved overall outcomes, but this is still a nascent area of research that needs more attention as mobile health enters the commercialization phase.

Zamzee for Groups is currently in beta and is set to launch in October. It’s designed to be used with groups of 10 or more people.