Around Tampa Bay, getting healthy through technology

Michael Bice, 80, gets up early every morning for a 10-mile bike ride or a walk with his wife, but not before checking his Apple smartwatch.

A professor of health and technology at USF’s Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning, Bice preaches what he does by helping students use technology to improve their well-being.

He earned a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Michigan in 1970, has lectured extensively on corporate culture, and taught university courses on health informatics, digital health technologies, health care policy and leadership ethics.

Peering into one of Bice’s courses, you’ll notice retirement-age adults tapping and scrolling on smart devices and smartphone apps to track their health. Bice not only provides information on the use of trackers, but sets an example through its tracking routines.

“My current involvement in tracking technology is twofold,” Bice explained. The first concerns the daily monitoring of COVID-19. So with that, every day I take my temperature with a smart thermometer made by Kinsa. I take a blood oxygen reading with an Innovo device. And then I do a KardiaMobile six-lead ECG. »

It also monitors his sleep/wake patterns and blood pressure.

Then there are the fitness trackers. “I have an Apple Smart Watch, and it’s paired with the Health app on the iPhone,” he said. “I think it’s the best in its class.”

Bice added that he uses his watch and the Apple Health app to monitor his weight and its day-to-day variations, taking note of patterns related to the number of calories he consumes per day and his level of activity. .

“I can tell you at any time how many days I exercised regularly, and with the cardio app I get an email from them (KardiaMobile) every month detailing my readings Daily EKGs So when I go to see my GP, I have a month-by-month record of my heart readings.

That’s not all her doctor gets. The Apple smartwatch and Health app integrate information from Bice’s other tracking devices via Bluetooth, such as its Oura sleep monitoring ring, which it also recommends. Bice says Apple has shown the most cross-compatibility so far. That said, Samsung Health and other Android apps continue to evolve.

Given Bice’s commitment to device-assisted dieting, you can’t help but wonder how many adults will use them with the same diligence. Without forgetting to be able to afford the devices themselves. App-only subscriptions can cost hundreds of dollars a month.

If you ask the Bice, it’s worth it, but it also has ideas about saving money and our health, offering a win-win for patients and practitioners with healthcare and hospitalization costs. reduced.

“In my opinion, the technology will improve because artificial intelligence and machine learning are developing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “The ability of these devices to not only track your activity, but also to predict a negative thing, we will see in five to ten years, if not sooner.

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“Insurance companies should give them away,” he added. Bice sees an opportunity for Medicare Advantage and private insurance plans to entice people to buy an Apple smartwatch.

“(Insurance programs) could make the devices available at a great discount or give them away for free,” Bice said. “Link this incentive to premium discounts or penalties; So if you meet your fitness goals, you’ll pay less. And conversely, if you haven’t, you pay more.

The options keep increasing. New tracking apps emerge every day, from the Lumen metabolism tracker to the Noom lifestyle manager. According to, the ShopWell app helps you match foods to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients and antioxidants while also helping you with shopping lists. It shows you healthy alternatives to some of your favorite foods.

What else awaits us? “I’ve come across some interest in using VR viewers as part of your fitness workouts and apps in VR, like the Oculus 2. So when you’re playing a game or you exercise, you move your arms, you move your hips, you move your legs, and so what seems like kind of a fun thing actually has a health benefit.

Jean Dyer, technology coordinator at USF's Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Jean Dyer, technology coordinator at USF’s Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning. [ Jean Dyer ]

Bice’s colleague, Jean Dyer, assists the OLLI students as technological coordinator. The 79-year-old tech expert and retired math and chemistry teacher used the Carb Manager app to lose a healthy amount of weight, count carbohydrate calories, salt intake, micro and macronutrients. Like Bice, it shares its learning with participants in the OLLI program. She also sings the praises of Apple’s smartwatch and its data integration.

“It was just wonderful,” she said of the app and other fitness tracking apps. “It gives you something to do; you busy.

The self-proclaimed lifelong learner said she needs to stay healthy to maintain the mental stamina and physical energy to keep trying new things. In turn, she has written how-to books and taught many courses over the years.

“If we don’t take care of ourselves,” Dyer said, “no one else will.”

A fitness tracker is a useful tool for monitoring activity levels.
A fitness tracker is a useful tool for monitoring activity levels. [ Shutterstock ]

Health technology options

The Apple Watch

Version 7 (latest)

From $399

The wearable smartwatch allows users to perform various tasks including making phone calls, sending text messages and reading emails. In addition to using a Bluetooth connection, the watch can also connect with an iPhone if it is on the same Wi-Fi network. Health and safety features such as ECG, fall detection and blood oxygen.

KardiaMobile 6L with KardiaCare


This device allows you to record six-lead ECGs and detect 6 of the most common arrhythmias. The company claims it is the most advanced personal ECG technology in the world.

Oura Ring, Generation 3

$299; Subscription at $6 per month

A wedding band-like sleep tracker, the Oura Ring collects data about your body, activity, and sleep using optical heart rate monitoring. The latest version has new sensors that allow it to measure your blood oxygen levels (SpO2), 24/7 day and night heart rate, training heart rate, recovery time, better temperature detection and more. The companion app adds women’s health and features enhanced sleep algorithms.

carbohydrate manager

Free download; $3.33 per month for the premium subscription

Carb Manager helps users lose weight, reduce inflammation, optimize energy, manage cravings, gain mental clarity, and restore balance. It can track your food by photo, database, or simply scan a product’s barcode.

Kinsa Quick Scan Smart Thermometer


This super thermometer takes quick, non-contact sanitary temperature readings on multiple family members and provides personalized advice. It teams up with a free app to track symptoms and take action in real time.

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