A new method of collecting and tracking sleeping patterns has recently been unveiled that utilizes mobile phones equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) chips running on T-Mobile’s nationwide network.

The creation of the app, called SleepTrak, is a joint venture between Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit health care organization and Swedish-based chip developer Cypak A.B. These two groups have formed iMPak Health, which is an organization that uses wireless technologies to arm patients with effective tools to manage their health.

The goal of this current offering from iMPak Health is to better understand patients with irregular and inefficient sleeping patterns.

NFC technology has only recently made its debut in America. In fact, the first mobile phone to contain a mass produced NFC chip was the purely Google branded Nexus S, which was previously discussed by the imedicalapps team.

“NFC, a two-way communication technology based on radio frequency identification (RFID), allows for simplified data exchange and wireless connection between devices over a short distance. Today, NFC has primarily fueled mobile phone payment technology.”

“However, the technology is seeing increasing use in the emerging mobile healthcare field as it offers healthcare professionals the ability to collect clinical data while connecting with patients seamlessly no matter their location. NFC also allows individuals new ways to keep track of their own health through innovative solutions like the SleepTrak offerings.”

As can be seen, NFC technology is a crucial component of the SleepTrak offering.

” ‘In today’s digital age, the lack of quality sleep is one of the main health concerns of both men and women,’ said Carol Ash, M.D., board certified sleep expert at Meridian Health. ‘Linking the SleepTrak offerings to a NFC-capable device on T-Mobile’s network will increase the user’s access and visibility to critical health-related information in a convenient and unobtrusive way.’ “

There are three main components necessary for people who want to use this aid to assess their sleeping patterns.

The phone that is exclusively being used for this study is the Nokia C7 Astound, which has an NFC chip baked in. It is available at local T-Mobile retail locations as well as through the T-Mobile website. It is combined with the free SleepTrak app which must be downloaded from Nokia’s Ovi Store. The final component of this trio is the SleepTrak card.  It is available for purchase on Amazon.com for less than $30.

Users can simply and easily touch the SleepTrak card to the NFC enabled Nokia C7 Astound. Once that occurs, the data automatically and quickly uploads to the SleepTrak app on the phone.  Sleep data is then automatically tracked, analyzed, and trended. The SleepTrak card is based on an established method used in Sleep Labs called actigraphy, which is further analyzed to create sleep efficiency scores.

“The state-of-the-art, Near Field Communication (NFC) sleep assessment card is worn during the night and tracks overall activity levels associated with sleep. In the morning, simply tap the card to your phone for a complete analysis of your sleep patterns, efficiency and trends. SleepTrak combines data on your sleep with common daily symptoms and activities into a core sleep assessment that can show you the impact of lifestyle on your sleep patterns. Data collected can be shared via e-mail and used as a baseline assessment for a more comprehensive sleep study.”

The results should be discussed with the user’s physician and it should be noted that this offering is not meant to be a diagnostic tool.

” ‘With this deployment, we successfully combined the expertise of a health care organization, a telemedicine technology company, and a wireless operator to deliver cost-effective, easy-to-use tools that allow users to take control of their own health and act on the information provided,’ said Sandra Elliott, Director, Consumer Technology and Service Development, Meridian Health.”

Source: TMCnet and The Nokia Blog