Last year Meridian Health, a not-for-profit group of hospitals in New Jersey, teamed up with near-field communications (NFC) technology vendor Cypak to create iMPak Health, which is focused on creating wireless health monitoring devices and services. This week iMPak announced its second offering: SleepTrak, which follows on last year's Health Journal for Pain.
According to iMPak, some 25 percent of American adults report insufficient sleep or rest every other day.
The iMPak Sleep Assessment and Monitoring card is equipped with an accelerometer and NFC technology. The user straps the credit card sized device on her arm at night to assess monitor sleeping habits and track overall activity levels and restlessness: "The SleepTrak card specifically utilizes a method widely used in Sleep Labs called actigraphy which is analyzed to create sleep efficiency scores," according to iMPak.
Using an accelerometer to measure a user's activity levels during sleep is similar to FitBit's sleep tracking service.
"If a potential sleep disorder is clear, recommendations will be made to see a local physician specializing in sleep disorders," according to the iMPak Health website, "at which time the data collected can be shared as baseline assessment results."
SleepTrak synchs up to the user's C7 Nokia Smartphone, which includes an NFC reader and requires the user to download the SleepTrak app from Nokia's Ovi Store. Meridian Health SVP Sal Inciardi implied that iMPak Health has a partnership with Nokia to bring these devices to market.
Last year iMPak announced its Health Journal for Pain, a “portable, lightweight, digital, wirelessly-enabled diary that empowers patients to easily record their pain levels before and after their prescribed medication regimen, providing physicians with readily available, useful, patient information and reports,” according to the companies. The device is made of cardboard but the company said at the time it was working on a credit card-sized plastic alternative version, which is a fitting description for the sleep device the joint venture announced this week. Interestingly, the Health Journal for Pain required A&D Medical’s RFID reader, but iMPak said it wanted to connect the cardboard device to NFC-enabled Nokia phones in the future.
iMPak also has similar NFC card-powered offerings for cholesterol management, chronic heart failure, diabetes management and weight management.
iMPak's NFC-focused strategy is certainly a unique one in mobile health. While the devices and journals do not require users to have a smartphone, they'd certainly be more useful if the end user did. Juniper Research predicts that there will be 300 million NFC-enabled smartphones by 2014 with half of those being used in the US. Pyramid Research largely agrees: Worldwide nearly 28 percent of smartphones sold to end users will be NFC-enabled by 2015, according to the research firm.
More on SleepTrak in this video