It’s no surprise that people are becoming more responsible for their own health care because of the continuing rise in medical costs & health insurance, coupled with difficulty getting a timely appointment to see many physicians. With the help of technology, many of us are relying more & more on self-care for routine health concerns, especially chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and irregular heart rhythms. A new entry in this growing field of connected health is an import from France: BewellConnect.
BewellConnect is more than just a collection of devices, but also an app available on your smartphone, to get the information from those devices, store it, and be able to track a user’s health indicators over time. The parent company, Visiomed Group, was started in France in 2007 after its founder invented a simple no-touch thermometer, which is now part of BewellConnect’s product line as MyThermo. (Everything starts with “My…”)
Once charged up with a supplied USB cable – no power adapter included – you just point the MyThermo at your forehead, or the forehead of whoever’s temperature you’re taking, press a big blue button, and “beep” it takes the temperature, which is displayed on a small screen at the back of the device. With the BewellConnect app running on your phone, and MyThermo selected, the temperature is transferred with the touch of the “Data” button to the app via Bluetooth. It’s a little confusing because the Bluetooth symbol in the app circles as if it’s not connecting, but when you press the data button, it immediately gets the reading.
MyThermo can also measure room temperature or surface temperature, and readout in either Fahrenheit or Celsius, easily changed with buttons on the device. It also comes with a stand, just to keep the MyThermo from rolling around.
The other BewellConnect device I tried was MyTensio, a blood pressure cuff for the wrist. You slip it on, tighten the strap a bit, and you can either press a button on the small display’s side to begin, or if connected to MyTensio in the BewellConnect app, start it from there. The cuff tightens, as they do in a medical office, and you see your pulse rate and blood pressure on the display and, if connected, in the app on your phone. MyTensio found my phone(s) quickly & easily.
The cuff needs to be recharged regularly with a supplied USB cable. It also comes with a small hard plastic clamshell case, for storage or travel.
The app allows you to send data and reports to a physician or anyone you choose, and can hold health information for up to seven people in separate profiles. The devices come with actual printed manuals (!) in English, Spanish and of course, French.
BewellConnect also sells MyGluco, a glucose monitor; MyNutriScale, which weighs your food for caloric intake; MyCoach Pulse, an activity & fitness band which tracks steps, distance, heart rate and sleep; MyTens, a wireless electrotherapy device to help relieve pain or stimulate muscles; and MyOxy, a finger pulse oximeter to measure heart rate & blood oxygenation, but currently available only for medical professionals. There’s also MyBabyScale, which is pretty self-explanatory. All connect to the app.
The pressure cuff, glucose monitor, TENS device and some others are medical grade and FDA cleared. BewellConnect has some other devices, not yet available in the U.S., such as an electrocardiogram called MyECG, and a MyTensio blood pressure cuff for the upper arm.
They are also working on offering Bewell Check-up, a smart medical algorithm app that may be able to provide assessments and even diagnoses through a medical questionnaire and data from their devices. And they are looking to launch a telemedicine service, MyDoc, to connect you and your data to a physician for a remote consultation. These are both currently available in Europe, with monthly fees.
BewellConnect is also becoming a fuller connected health company by partnering with other medical providers and groups, which seems to be the direction in which health care is moving.
The BewellConnect devices that can be purchased in the US are available only on their website now and are not particularly expensive. The MyThermo and MyTension I tried out are each $99 with free ground shipped, a 30-day money back guarantee and one year warranty. The other devices range from $70 to $249.