By F. Daniel Nicolalde, Project HealthDesign - PhD Student - UW-Madison.Like most cyclists, I own a small bike computer that allows me to keep track of my speed, cadence, and distance. Unfortunately, tracking my exercise can still be a rather difficult task as I still need the motivation, payback, and technology to translate this data into meaningful information.
Last season I used a time consuming paper-based bicycle journal to keep track of my rides. I managed to have three entries during the whole biking season. The only tangible data I walked away with was a running count of kilometers that the bike computer stored – over 1,000.
Before this year’s biking season started, I purchased a heart rate monitor that allows me to maintain an online profile of my exercise routines. All the data that the system stores is primarily quantitative - taken straight from the heart rate monitor and the bike computer. Unfortunately, the system has no automated upload so I have to enter all the information manually. Thus far I have entered more than twenty entries. While the system has limitations, it displays the data in a couple of ways.
Hopefully the future holds the best
It was my goal to share my exercise data with my personal health record. This task hasn’t proven to be straightforward. The online system exported an XML file but my PHR wasn’t able to interpret the content, so now I have an XML file in my PHR with all my exercise information on it. Storing health information in proprietary information system creates silos of information, which can only be interpreted by the system that generated it. As a biker, a consumer of health technologies, and exercise gadget owner, I’d like to echo what Patti Brennan said in her last post, we should ask for true interoperability and not be bonded to one particular vendor.
If you keep track of you exercise routines, I’d like to know how and what motives you to maintain the record. Should these types of observations of daily living be part of our health records? And if so, with whom should we share them?