Going Digital with the 2016 Rio Olympics

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Going Digital with the 2016 Rio Olympics

In the midst of rising concerns about the spread of Zika and public health controversies, it seems that the 11,000 visiting athletes will not be the only ones competing in Rio this summer. As health takes center stage, digital health solutions are battling for gold to deliver results from athletic performance to public health interventions. The predominance of digital health solutions adopted in preparation for the Olympics by athletes, public health professionals, and healthcare workers alike make it clear that real-time data brings home results.

Curbing The Spread of Zika

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization released the WHO Zika app targeting healthcare workers and responders to provide medical reference information about the Zika virus. For travellers making the trek down to Rio, the CDC released a list of recommended health apps to curb the spread of Zika including Travwell, a healthy-travel planning app with recommendations on everything from vaccines to a packing list, and an app geared towards guiding travelers through a series of questions to help make the best food and beverage choices. Guardiões da Saúde tackles mass surveillance and symptom reporting to collect information about the risk of disease transmission.

Training for Gold

In an arena where greatness begins with health, digital health technologies continue to thrive and drive ‘assertive decision-making’ to deliver gold medal results. Each competing athlete was given a Kinsa smart thermometer for symptom tracking to stay on top of monitoring the spread of Zika. On top of their special edition Galaxy S7 Edge phone, all athletes were gifted Samsung’s Gear IconX heart rate-tracking earbuds which syncs to send data to Samsung’s S Health app.

Digital health is already making its mark on this year’s Olympics as a key player in addressing gaps in the system from public health interventions to athletic performance. At the end of the day, innovators in the digital health realm are not willing to settle for silver. Their success this summer paves the way for them to play a bigger role in the future.