maintaining your healthIs no longer a one-a-day vitamin, a once-a-year checkup and a thrice-weeklyworkout--it's a 24/7 concern. Consumers want control over and convenient access to their own health information. New gadgets, tools and online services are themeans to this democratization of information--and entrepreneurs are at the forefront.
PERSONAL HEALTH PORTALS
Consumerswant online control over their health information, freeing it fromthe shackles of their HMOor PPO. Sites likeMedsFile.comandMy-CMI+ (criticalmedicalinformation.com) give users a space to store theirmedication and health information, respectively, so it's accessible anywhere-- from their home, the pharmacy or a doctor's office.
Point-of-care, or POC, testing allows doctorsand retail health centers to do diagnostic testing on the premises, taking thewait out ofmedical tests and helping consumersmake immediate health-care decisions. This $11.3 billion globalmarket is growing by 11 percent annually, according to EspicomHealthcare Intelligence, and innovative POC solutions providers are leading the charge. "POC delivers what central labs cannot: essentially, real-time information," says JimMerselis, CEO of Alverix Inc., a POC diagnostic technology provider. "Patients, themselves, are helping drive the growth of POC by requesting it be used to support their decisions and those of their healthcare professionals."
fit foodIs gluten-free the new low-carb? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley--therefore, just about every bread--and can cause severe reactions in sufferers of celiac sprue. Others believe it leads to general gastrointestinal distress.A whopping 700 new gluten-free foods were added to this $1.75 billionmarket in 2007--only 214 were added in 2004.
For people seeking a lifestyle fix rather than a meal plan or workout regimen,wellness coaches focus on the whole shebang--stress, timemanagement, diet and fitness--to encourage personalized, sustainable, healthy behaviors. Both individuals and corporations hire wellness coaches, who can charge anywhere from $60 to $150 an hour, says Margaret Moore, 50, founder of Wellesley, Massachusetts-based coach training and certification programWellcoaches Corp.Wellcoaches, which is accredited by the American Council on Exercise, trained only 100 coaches in 2003; it trained 1,000 last year and is on track to increase those figures by 20 percent this year.
fit foodFitFlops: These cleverly designed sandals have a uniquemidsole that the company says gives yourmuscles a better workout than plain old walking. Forty-year-old founder Marcia Kilgore (of Bliss Spa fame) has a bona fide hit on her feet: Oprah gave it her "Favorite Things for Summer" seal of approval, and 1.5million pairs were sold just from January through August of this year.
BOSU Balance Trainer: Exercise balls promote balance but can turn a workout into a circus act. The BOSU--an inflatable half-dome--takes the roly-polyness out of your balancing act, which is why it has become a favorite with gyms, physical therapists, Olympic trainers and home exercisers.
Wii Fit peripherals: Peripherals for a peripheral?This is getting a bitmeta, but that isn't stopping third-party providers fromlaunchingWii Fit add-ons likemats and covers for the balancing board, carrying cases and rechargeable battery packs.
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