Vivametrica Unveils Open Source Healthcare Analytics Platform For Wearables

Charles McLellan | ZD Net | September 16, 2014

A Canadian startup founded by medical professionals plans to offer personal health assessments based on wearable sensor data and public health data sets.

Sensor-laden smartphones and wearable devices are set to generate vast amounts of activity and other health-related data in the coming years. Fitness bands such as the popular Fitbit and Nike Fuelband, smartwatches such as Samsung's Gear series and Apple's recently announced Watch, and their successors, will deliver step counts, heart rate readings and more. Such devices generally come with companion apps that help to present the data and set exercise targets, but real value will derive from personalised risk assessments for various chronic conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes and back pain) and actionable health targets based on comparative population data.

This is where Canada-based Vivametrica comes in. Building on more than decade of clinical research on the science of exercise, the company's goal, according to founder and CEO Dr Richard Hu, is to "take our research information and apply it as a data analytics platform, bringing information in, in a standardised fashion, making meaningful analysis and providing tools to consumers, to industry and to enterprise".  Hu also says that Vivametrica will "distribute that information — with appropriate security and privacy safeguards — to work as part of further data analyses in an interactive process".

According to Hu, who is also a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Calgary, the accuracy of consumer activity trackers is "better than most people would attribute to these devices" — Vivametrica's research finds correlation coefficients of 0.89-0.99 with 'gold standard' ActiGraph sensors, for example.  "We're also devising a calibration method for each individual monitor, so that if you change devices in the future, your previous data is still usable," he says...