This is a part of a new series iMedicalApps is running testing various health devices that patients are using for health

Patient Scenario:

At the end of a clinic visit, your patient wants your advice on a cheap fitness tracker that tracks sleep as well as their steps.

Currently the cheapest fitness tracker from the mainstream brands that does this is the Jawbone Up Move, which can currently be purchased on Amazon.com for $39.50. The Misfit Flash is a close second at $49.99.

The following are my impressions of the Jawbone Up Move, and at the end I list the types of patients it could be useful for as well as the types of patients who should avoid it.

IMG_9904.2015-05-25_100422IMG_9901.2015-05-25_093831

As the above pictures show, the Jawbone Up Move is a small tracker that is held in a standard silicone clip. Getting it into and out of the silicone clip is more difficult than it should be, but it can easily be clipped to your clothes or your shoes.

There is no display on the device, but there are some LED lights that turn on in a circular fashion giving you progress reports of your fitness goals of the day.

The Up Move uses a replaceable battery, rather than a rechargeable one — with a stated battery time of 6 months.

You have to download Jawbone’s UP app in order to actually make use of the device. The app will display your exact step count and your sleep. Before you sleep, you’re supposed to click on Up Move’s main button once, but it can actually predict your sleep times based on movement if you don’t do this — a feature I liked a lot.

I’m a fan of Jawbone’s Up app — unlike Fitbit, it integrates with the native Apple Health app and syncs with several other popular fitness apps. Jawbone’s goal is to be open to all types of gadgets, which is reassuring as patient’s have a wide variety of smartphones.

IMG_9902.2015-05-25_093956IMG_9903.2015-05-25_094005

What type of patient is the Jawbone Up Move for?

  • Patients who want a sub $50.00 fitness tracker
  • Patients who feel very comfortable using apps — the Jawbone Up Move is not useful without frequently using the Up app on your phone.
  • Patients who are more interested in a cheap sleep tracker than an actual fitness device since you can get similarly priced fitness trackers with external displays that don’t have sleep monitoring.

What type of patient is the Jawbone Up Move not for?

  • Patient’s who don’t feel comfortable using apps on their phone frequently — the Up app is integral in the usage of this fitness tracker.
  • Patients who don’t always have their phones on them, and want to monitor their physical activity closely without using an app.

When I initially tested the Jawbone Up Move I was hoping it could be a universal fitness tracker you could recommend to all patients since it had a cheap price, 6 month long battery life, and sleep tracking.  But the lack of an external display makes it impossible to recommend to everyone since only those who feel comfortable using mobile apps frequently will be able to make use of the device.  For patient’s who aren’t technically adept and want basic step counts and measuring of their overall fitness activity, this isn’t for them.