Tech Tools for Health and Wellness
In this discussion, we explored a number of apps and smart devices for health and wellness, including exercising, tracking, and measurement. The discussion touched on calorie tracking, cooking food, making exercise equipment accessible, using continuous glucose monitoring systems, and much more.
July 30, 2019
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Tech It Out – Tech Tools for Health and Fitness
Presented by Ricky Enger
July 30, 2019
Ricky: Welcome everyone to this month's edition of Tech It Out, I am so glad that you could join. Tonight's discussion is going to be wonderful because all of you are going to have some really great tips to share with us I know.
This month's topic is gadgets and apps and things for health and wellness and fitness. So, something that we all definitely want to keep in mind and think about. Something that is important to all of us.
I'd like to go through a few things initially and then we'll open up for you guys to share your resources and questions as well.
As we think about health and fitness and all of these things that we kind of want to keep track of, where do we start with that? I think it's probably a good idea if you're looking to be mindful about your health, you kind of want to know what your current status is. So you want to be able to measure certain things like, "Do I have a fever? What's my weight? What's my current blood pressure?"
If you have blood sugar issues, if you're diabetic or hypoglycemic, you want to know what your current blood sugar is and have an accessible way to track that. For some of these there are traditional, i.e. not necessarily technical methods of doing that. For example, let's talk thermometers. There are talking thermometers that you can get from places like Independent Living Aids, LSNS, MaxiAids. Even Amazon sells some of these talking thermometers that can either be used orally, or there are some ear thermometers, there are some that go across your forehead and speak. There can be a couple of disadvantages to these, and one is of course the accuracy of that thermometer. You want to make sure that you are getting an actual good measurement. Or something consistent.
And sometimes these talking gadgets that are specialized aren't necessarily the most accurate things in the world. The second thing I've found is that unfortunately these can be a little more expensive than their standard counterparts. So, if you want something accessible you have to pay for it, which isn't really cool I think. So, I set out a few months ago when the family had all sharing is caring and we all came down with the flu, and I needed a way to accurately track our temperatures. And the talking thermometers, I had like three. And none of them gave consistent readings.
So, I was like, "There has to be something better out there." So, I searched for a thermometer that would interface with my smart phone, and I found one. It was about 20 dollars, whereas my thermometers that I had were kind of in the 50 dollar range. And the question of course is, "How well does it work?" The one I chose is called Kinsa K-I-N-S-A, and it works with both iOS and Android. It pairs to the phone via Bluetooth. And the one thing that you have to kind of concern yourself with in terms of using anything that does not speak itself but rather relies on your phones app or your phone's interface in order to give you the information is, how well is the app going to work? Is the app accessible? And what do I do if they change it?
I've been lucky with the Kinsa thermometer so far in that the app does work pretty well. It isn't perfect by any means, but it works well enough that I can get an accurate reading. I can take the temperatures of more than one person. I can set up multiple profiles and be able to track the temperature over time. So, I was super happy to have found this Bluetooth thermometer. This is one of many. So, when you're looking for a device like this, you might check out AppleVis, or Inclusive Android, depending on what your platform is, to see if someone else has experience with that particular device, and more importantly, the app that comes with it.
Scales. Not a thing that many of us are in love with, but kind of a necessary evil, I think. And scales do have the same concerns as a Bluetooth thermometer in that, let's say you want something that is going to measure you accurately. So, if you're upset, you're upset for the right reasons. The scale hasn't lied. And if you're happy, you're also happy for the right reasons too, because the scale has told the truth. There are talking scales and unlike the talking thermometer situation, I've actually paid less for talking scales from places like LSNS, Independent Living Aids, and the like, than I have paid for scales that have a smartphone interface.
I have found though, that the talking scales that I have experienced were not that accurate. I could step on and get one reading. I could step on and have say a three-pound difference within a matter of seconds. So, pretty sure that isn't accurate. With a smartphone connected scale, they are a little more expensive, at least the one's that I have tried are. I know there are some that are less so. But, whatever the case, the neat thing about these connected scales is that generally not only do they measure your weight, but they can measure some other interesting things as well, such as what your BMI is. What your bone mass is. How much water is currently in your body? So, interesting things like that. What's your muscle mass? Things that you might want to keep track of over time as you work out and you want that confirmation that, hey I'm actually building muscle. So, even though the weight number on the scale isn't changing, I've actually built muscle and lost fat or what have you. I have experience with two smart scales. Both of these work with iOS and Android. The first is the Aria scale from Fitbit. There is a newer model than the one I have, but this works with the Fitbit app, and we'll talk about Fitbit trackers in just a bit. But the scale will work with the app, and you can get that information whenever you open the app, and you can enter it into the health app as well.
If I remember correctly, there were some interesting problems syncing that to the Apple Health system. But whatever the case, you're able to look at your measurements each day and it is pretty accurate. The other scale I have is called EufyLife. And it's E-U-F-Y Life. All of this will be in our show notes as you're checking this out on the website at a later date. So, all of these resources that get mentioned, you don't necessarily have to be in a hurry to write those down because you can check them out in the show notes when we publish the archive of the discussion.
So, EufyLife is a neat scale that measures several different things such as again, your water content, your muscle mass, and so on. Its issue is that it is definitely... the app is not particularly pleasant. This again is a case of, as you venture out and you want to try some of these things to track your weight or your temperature or your blood pressure, or what have you. You want to look for experiences from others if possible and see if someone else has bought that and promptly returned it because the app was horrible, or they're raving about it because it's awesome.
Blood pressure and heart rate are things that of course you want to be able to track as well, and I'll look forward to community input on this one. Because I have found a couple of references to these things, and unfortunately, they may be outdated. I've seen the cardio arm blood pressure monitor mentioned. And I've also seen the Wi things, that's W-I as in Wi-Fi things mentioned. And each of these, at least in 2015, had apps that were reasonably accessible. But as you know, a lot can change in four years. So, I'll look forward to input on that.
The last thing I want to talk about is for those with diabetes. There are a number of ways of managing this and some of them involve finger pricks and test strips and there are talking glucose meters that don't rely on any sort of technology. So, your phone or whatever, in order to be able to read those results. And I think those things are a great idea and are very necessary. However, if you're diabetic, you're probably sick of pricking your finger multiple times a day. And I wanted to mention a device called the FreeStyle Libre or Libre, I'm not entirely sure which. This is a device that is a sensor that you replace every 14 days, and you are able to pair it with your smartphone in order to get those readings inside an app.
My good friend Jamie Pauls wrote an article in AccessWorld detailing his personal experience with this, and it's well worth the read if you're looking for maybe a different way to go about tracking your blood sugar. He does of course recommend that you keep that talking glucose meter as a backup. Because we all love technology except when we don't. When it stops working, or your phone crashes or whatever, and you still have to track your blood sugar, you need that backup so that you're not left wondering or even endangering yourself because you're unable to measure your sugar.
So, when we aren't tracking what our bodies are doing in terms of heart rate or temperature or how much we weigh, we might be engaging in exercise. So, what's available from a technical perspective to help us either do the actual exercise or keep track of what's happening when we do the exercise? The wearable trackers have definitely come a long way I think. And I want to talk about two of them. And of course we'll welcome recommendations from others as well. The first is the Fitbit brand of trackers, and there are multiple Fitbit trackers. This is a device that is worn on the wrist and it measures your number of steps, it measures your pulse, and it can do things that may not necessarily work for someone who can't see the screen of the device. But it will show you texts or it will show you who is calling you, because it's paired with your phone.
You can't take the call on the device. But you can have that information. It can also do a really nice job of tracking sleep. How in the world does that work? It's measuring your pulse as well as how much you're moving around during the night and things like that. So, it's tracking how much you've slept, and what your sleep quality was like. The Fitbit isn't accessible on its own. Meaning that the device doesn't have any kind of spoken output, or there's no accessibility features. You can't make the text bigger on it or anything. You can though, pair it with your phone and get all that same information that is available on the screen.
The second wearable tracker I want to talk about is available to those of us who are on the iOS platform. Unfortunately the Apple Watch does not work with Android at this time, but the Apple Watch is an interesting device in that it tracks much of what the Fitbit does. It tracks your pulse, it detects when you are working out. So, you are able to either begin a workout on the device or it's supposed to see, "Hey you're moving around a lot, are you working out?" And it will prompt you to say, "Yeah, I'm working out," or, "No, I'm just running through the airport," or whatever. So, it tracks that.
You can actually take calls on your Apple Watch and read texts and do a number of other not fitness-related things with it. The one thing that the Apple Watch doesn't do particularly well is track sleep. It doesn't have a native app to do this, and there are some apps that you can install. Some of which work great, and some of which not so much. If I were to say there were any downside to the Apple Watch aside from the fact that it is very platform specific and doesn't work with Android, it would be that it doesn't really track sleep particularly well.
So, what about the actual exercise? What's available to us accessibly? There are kind of two parts to this. The first is perhaps you either don't want to or don't have the ability to travel outside your home to do a workout. And really, why should you? It would be nice if you could do workouts right where you're comfortable. The issue is that many of the YouTube videos that people watch to say, "This is how you do a seven minute workout, or this is how you do a yoga pose." Or, "Here's my weight-lifting regimen, just watch what I do and follow me." That's not going to work so well for someone who can't see the video and can't follow what the person is doing.
One option is the BlindAlive series of workouts, and they are actually now free at blindalive.com. They range from cardio workouts to sculpting with weights. There's a bar method one. One for a stability ball. I believe there is chair yoga and a few others that I can't bring to mind right this second. But they, again, do range from the very beginner who is wanting to kind of go gently into this, to somebody who's really ready to take off and do the bootcamp and just whip themselves into shape in the kind of brutal fashion.
So, if you want to check out the text descriptions of the BlindAlive workouts, those are available in addition to the workouts, because sometimes you just want to read through something first before you jump right into the workout and you have a couple of seconds to get yourself into position.
The other thing to consider with exercise, is actual exercise equipment. You don't need exercise equipment to be healthy certainly, but if it's something that you are interested in, now you have to think about the process of how do I accessibly program this machine, because we are now past the days of when you had the little knob that you would turn to increase or decrease resistance, and that was kind of all you got. Now there are machines with a ton of features and programs and things that have been developed that you can just press a button and you're automatically doing a hill program on the elliptical. Or you're doing something on the treadmill.
So, we have to think about, "Well, how can I work with these things that may have a touch screen," or who knows what? I have experience with a single company here and that is Sole, S-O-L-E. I wanted to find some equipment that paired with my phone so that I wouldn't need to operate a touch screen or do a number of things and require a sighted assistance just to begin my workout. What I discovered was that number one, it's really difficult to test a Bluetooth app with an elliptical or whatever equipment in store. Because they're kind of assuming you're going to be in your home, and you'll set up a profile and you'll do all of these things that aren't really available or kind of locked out on the floor models of these things.
The second thing I've discovered is that while it is possible on some devices from some companies such as Sole and Schwinn and Bowflex, while it is possible to connect to these things via Bluetooth, and with some fiddling around, get your program started, the truth is that doing Bluetooth wasn't that much easier or more accessible for me than to simply label or place bump dots on the buttons. It turns out that my Sole elliptical does have buttons rather than a straight up touch screen. It looks completely flat, but there are actual buttons hidden underneath this overlay. So, if you place a sticker in the right place, then you're going to push the button, and it isn't a touch screen that you tap.
But take it from me in that I have spent a lot of extra money on the Bluetooth feature, which wasn't entirely necessary. At least at this point. You can find completely accessible equipment that at least with a little work can be made accessible without pairing it to your phone. And the phone pairing and the apps themselves tend to be not particularly accessible. So there you have it. My advice for the evening.
Before we open it up for questions and comments, I want to talk about one last aspect of health. And that is, what are we putting into our bodies? What are we eating and how are we tracking it?
It's interesting in that there are number of apps for tracking food, and some of them even have some cool features like a barcode scanner. Unfortunately getting that barcode scanner to work when you aren't entirely sure where the barcode is on the box can be a bit of a challenge. So, there are again a number of iPhone and android apps and even some websites that will allow you to track what you're eating, at least to a certain degree. Of course there are the caveats of, "What happens if I go to someone's house and I have no idea what they've put in this recipe? How do I track it?" You're not going to necessarily find every person's recipe in a database as you search for it.
Or if you're ordering something from a restaurant, which may have its calorie counts and so on online. What do you do if you decide to modify that order just a bit? And you say, "I want three slices of cheese and extra mayo," now how do you track that? That can be an issue. But I think if you can embrace the idea that tracking is kind of a guideline as opposed to the absolute truth, then you might have a little better luck. Two resources I want to mention in terms of tracking things or calculating nutrients and so on.
MyFitnessPal is the one that I use and have done so for a very, very long time. It's available on the web as well as on your smartphone. I feel like the usability of the app has gone down just a bit over the last year or so. And if you don't have a premium membership, you'll have to contend with a lot of ads that can really clutter up the screen. But what I like about MyFitnessPal is that it has a huge database of foods that are brand name or where people have put in their own recipes and mentioned what ingredients they used in their recipes.
So, you are likely to be able to find something close to whatever it is that you have decided to eat, and you will be able to track it along with your weigh-ins. And you can also, with the premium version of this, track other aspects other than calories. Maybe you are following Keto, and you want to know how many carbs you've consumed, and what your net carbs are. Maybe you really need to get in a lot of protein for whatever reason, so it's essential that you be able to track that in particular. MyFitnessPal does a nice job of that.
The last thing I want to mention is what if you are making your own recipes? I've recently gotten into, I just got a NutriBullet and I am making a lot of green juice or smoothies or just stuff that you can pulverize in the NutriBullet, and I wanted to be able to calculate what kinds of nutrients am I ingesting here, and how much? There is a recipe analyzer, and it's at verywellfit.com. Again, we'll see this in the show notes once the episode is posted. And the way that this works is that you enter your ingredients, you enter the amount. The measurement of those ingredients, and then you select analyze recipe. Now sometimes it doesn't recognize what your ingredient is, and you have to edit it, in which case it will show you a number of possibilities. Did you mean Almond Breeze almond milk or did you mean chocolate covered almonds? So, you select the thing that you meant and it will update not only the calorie content, but the other macronutrients as well in that food.
So, it's nice to be able to build your own recipes and then get an idea of much like what you would see on a nutrition label. You can get an idea of, "Okay, this is basically the number of calories and other things that this contains."
Having said all that, I would like to now take a look at what we have for questions. So, let's go first then to Blind Educator, I believe you have a question.
Speaker 3: Actually I had a couple of comments. One regarding the Bluetooth that you pair with the devices. I personally haven't experienced it, but my brother who wanted to take [inaudible] he has a Bluetooth scale and a Fitbit and he found that if you pair too many things to your phone, one or both the Fitbit and the scale will lose its pairing, so you have to clear your Bluetooth section of your phone if you still want the Fitbit and/or the scale to keep track of your health readings.
Ricky: Wow, that's interesting. I'm not surprised. Bluetooth and I don't necessarily get along. I have had a Fitbit and an Aria scale, and they seemed to work, but there is the possibility that sometimes they don't.
Speaker 3: Well no, because he had those and then he had four or five different Bluetooth headsets and speakers so-
Ricky: Oh wow, so just a ton of Bluetooth. Yeah.
Speaker 3: Yeah, it was overloaded. The other comment is for the exercise equipment. I found that flat panels are easier to manage once you figure out where everything is. If you could remember a list for the main functions, like if you're doing cardio for the incline, or the same thing for the ellipticals, rather than getting [inaudible] where you have to go in the screen, refresh it to select a new program. If you just have a dedicated select panel, it's going to be a lot easier.
Ricky: Interesting. Yeah, so as your ... generally people are, at least in my experience, the sales people at places like Dick's Sporting Goods or places like that where there are floor models of the exercise equipment for people to actually get on and try. They are very willing to answer questions and to work with you in terms of figuring out whether something is going to be accessible or usable for you. And often they themselves will use it as a learning experience knowing that there may be other customers who come in with similar needs. So, they kind of want that background. What should I be thinking about when I'm showing this customer these brands of things? Oh okay, I know that this one has a touch screen, and it's not a flat panel with buttons underneath.
So, unless that person has a lot of vision and wants to operate using a touch screen that they can see, then we'll direct them away from that. Let's go next to 502 on the phone, I believe you have a question.
Speaker 4: Hi, I have used, thanks to Lisa there, the Pedometer++ app on my phone and I like doing that counting steps. Also, I do have a treadmill, it's flat and I have a few buttons on it. What my sister did, because she saw that it had workouts and she's a runner. I'm not. But she put a piece of masking tape on the button for the workouts, which I did not feel a button there, but she put tape there. So, if I press above it or on it, I can't remember which, then I count the number of whatever... for example, one is easier than two. Or two is easier, you know there's a certain number workouts that it is-
Speaker 4: And I just press whatever number I want. Say 7, I want to do number 7 that day. And I just count up to 7. I think there's like 15 or 16 workouts. And they basically have the same amount of time, it's just whether it's a harder or easier workout for the day, or whatever I want. Then I just press whatever number it is. And I wrote those numbers down somewhere so that I can go back and look at it before I decide to get on the treadmill. So...
Ricky: Absolutely, yeah it's a great way to mark the buttons that you care about with bump dots or masking tape. In fact, that is one thing that I have ended up doing. Although I do have the Bluetooth connectivity to my elliptical, I've marked the start button and I've marked a couple of workouts that I tend to like best. So, if I don't really care about pairing my phone to it at that point to get the distance information and all of that stuff, if I just want to jump on and do whatever, I can select those bump dots to get it started.
And you're right, I can't feel any buttons on mine either. It feels like just a completely flat surface.
Speaker 4: The other buttons I can feel, but for that particular one I couldn't, she just simply put a piece of masking tape. Where that button is supposed to be, and when I pushed it, it works. So that helps.
Ricky: Makes sense. Let's go to 520 on the phone with a question.
Speaker 5: I would like to really quickly give a big shout out to the best microwave for the blind.
Ricky: All right.
Speaker 5: And at an affordable price. I found a Sharp commercial microwave. A commercial one you'd find in a break room. One knob, thousand watts, that's it. I put the bump dots on the turn-able knob, I am so happy. I got it for 230 dollars, which kicked the snot out of all the ones that I saw for the blind by at least hundreds of dollars.
Ricky: And that's a great point. It's like I mentioned before, it's sometimes the things that are specialized do cost more, which is a really sad state of affairs. And actually sometimes the less technical approach is better. There is a microwave that is enabled with Alexa, and it was released earlier this year. And you can talk to Alexa, and I've probably just set off all sorts of assistants, I apologize. But you can say, "Hey so and so, set my microwave for three minutes," and it sounds wonderful on paper. The problem is that the microwave is 750 watts, and there are rarely if ever directions on prepared foods that even talk about 750 watts. So, it's extremely underpowered and feels possibly a little gimmicky that yes, you can talk to your microwave and it does what you want, just rather slowly.
Speaker 5: And you're correct about that, because all the ones that I saw, they were totally underpowered. And that's why I suddenly went, "the break room!" And that's when I called Sharp and I asked them if they had any commercial ones. Because if anybody stayed in hotels or motels, a lot of times they got these little mini ones, but a lot of them are turn dial with a timer, and that's all you really need.
So, when I found this one, like I said, I've never seen one this cheap. And I've been over the moon with it. It works brilliant. One turn-able knob, I put my bump dots on it. It does 1000 watts, and I've had it for nearly a year. And I'm still just as happy with it for 230 dollars, I have to give that shout out, because it took me two years to find a good microwave that a blind person could use.
Ricky: Awesome. And if you're able to join the What's Cooking? group, you'll want to talk about that as well. For those of you who are not aware, Hadley does have additional discussion groups, and I wanted to mention just two of many here. The What's Cooking? group is one of them. And the other is the Get Up and Go! fitness group. They talk about all sorts of cool stuff. They've talked about bicycling, they've talked about swimming and various other water activities.
Super cool group, and it's certainly apropos, since we're talking about health and fitness.
Speaker 3: I had a comment about the microwaves. I just finished listening to an interview that Blind Abilities did on the Amazon microwave, and they said that now you can actually tell them if... if you did popcorn it says one ounce popcorn and then the microwave will pre-determine the amount of time it [inaudible] ground beef, it will already have been determined, and then it will change the temperature or the minutes according to what you tell them, then it's going to do it.
Ricky: Oh yeah.
Speaker 3: So, I thought to throw that out also.
Ricky: Absolutely. 417, you have a question.
Barb: Hi, this is Barb. You were talking about the blood sugar monitors a while ago and you mentioned the FreeStyle Libre. Has it gotten to where insurance will pay for those now?
Ricky: That is a great question, and since I don't have personal experience with it, it's difficult to say. I do know that in the case of a couple of people I know who actually do have it, they do have to purchase their own sensors for I believe it's about 80 dollars a month. So, they have to purchase their sensors, but I think that in their case at least, the insurance did pay for some portion of it initially. And then you had to pay for the sensors as an ongoing cost. That's something that I would definitely reach out to your doctor who can probably check with the insurance company to see if that's a possibility. Because I think that things are changing all the time in that respect. And it's going to depend obviously on what your insurance plan is, but I know that some of them will pay.
All right let's go to V. Baldwin with a question.
V. Baldwin: Hi, I wanted to know if anyone had heard of an oximeter, I think that's what it's called. That little thing they put on your finger to measure your oxygen. One that would be accessible. And also I wanted to kick in that yes, it's an individual insurance who you have as an insurance carrier, whether or not that would be covered. And I have the Dexcom brand. And as of January, the Dexcom G6 will become available. No longer do we need to prick our finger, and it will be much more accurate. I think, I could be wrong, but the Dexcom will, currently and in the future, give us alarms when we have gone outside of the perimeters that we've set for high and low blood sugars. But I'm not sure if the Libre will do that.
Ricky: That's excellent information. I don't know the answer as to whether the Libre does that or not. I think that it wasn't mentioned in the article I read, and I didn't think to ask the people I know who use it whether or not that is the case. But it's good to know that there are now multiple things on the market that do this without a lot of finger pricks. So, does anyone have an answer to the oxygen measurement thingy? I forget what the technical term for that is, I'm just going to call it a thingy?
V. Baldwin: I think it's called an oximeter.
Ricky: Oximeter, yes. Thank you. It looks like no one here has an answer, but people do listen to the archive and often will write in with answers to questions that were mentioned during the live session. So, if you want to send me an email about that or anything else that happens to be on your mind, you can do that. I'm at Enger, E-N-G-E-R at hadley.edu. And I will welcome your feedback. We do update show notes as things like that become available. So, if the question doesn't get answered now, you may very well see that happen in the show notes at one point. Let's go next to 715 on the phone with a question.
Speaker 9: Thanks for these Tech It Outs, I really enjoy them. I have used both a Fitbit Flex, I've gone through two of them in about five months because I swim, they're supposed to be waterproof. But mine were not. So, I bought an Apple Watch and I just love it. I go swimming with it, and it actually can tell the difference in the different strokes that you're doing.
Speaker 3: Wow.
Ricky: Wow. That is super cool. I have not been brave enough to go swimming with my Apple Watch. And I’m assuming since you still have one, it's working fine. You do water lock and then go swimming or how does that work?
Speaker 9: Yes. Well, I have vision, so I don't use voiceover or anything, so I swipe up on my watch and I find a little raindrop or something that looks like a little raindrop, and I tap that, and that makes it so you can't do anything on the watch. And then when you're done, then you spin the little dial on the side of the watch.
Ricky: Yep, the digital crown.
Speaker 9: The digital crown, thank you. And it'll go, "Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, blip."
Speaker 9: That's supposed to expel the water from the speakers. And I usually do that several times, because the first few times it sounds all static-y.
Speaker 9: But I really like it. I just love it.
Ricky: I love my Apple Watch as well, and thank you for that. I think that's amazing that it actually will let you know not only that, "Hey, you're swimming," but also, "This is what you're doing."
Speaker 9: I go into the workout part, and I pick pool swim before I start, and then I find the raindrop and hit that. It recognizes that I'm doing the backstroke, but when I swim on my stomach, I don't even know what the stroke is, it just says face dial.
Ricky: Got you. Yeah.
Speaker 9: But it's super, super nice.
Ricky: Now I feel like going swimming with my Apple Watch. You encouraged me.
Speaker 9: Let me know how it goes.
Ricky: All right, so anyone else with a question or comment or anything that you want to talk about that has been mentioned? It looks like yes, we do have 727 on the phone?
Speaker 10: Hi Ricky, one thing that hasn't been mentioned that I just thought of is the ScripTalk prescription label reader, so that you can tell what your medications are, and the proper dosages, and how often to take them, and how many refills are left. And even get the prescription number. And then there's another number on it with a phone number. And there's a four, I think it's a four-digit code or so that you enter if you want more information about additional warnings that maybe aren't listed. And I just heard that it's going to be available at all Walmart stores now, so that you shouldn't have to go explaining what it is and why you need it.
And they say there's no real qualifications, you just go in there and tell them that you have trouble reading your prescriptions. So, I thought that might be something that people would be interested in. It's from En-Vision America. And you can get the ScripTalk station, the reader, on loan, and you can keep it for as long as you need it. And then if you don't use it anymore, you return it to them. And they do check with you every six months to see how you're doing, and if the pharmacy that you're using is doing what they're supposed to do as far as putting on the labels and so forth.
And they are still working on an app for it. I think it's in beta right now, so it's not available just yet, but that's something to look forward to, also.
Ricky: Yeah, absolutely. I think the app will be available soon. It is still in beta, you're right about that. I think we're getting closer to release day from what I understand. It's a wonderful service. So, if you have Walmart as your pharmacy, you're right, that was announced just today or yesterday that that was happening. So a lot less explanation that you'll have to do when you go in to talk to them. But if you're working with say your local CVS or Walgreens or whatever, that doesn't mean that you can't still use the service. You just may have to tell them what it is. And then En-Vision America will work with your pharmacy to make sure that they're able to create your ScripTalk labels. So, thank you for that. It's an incredible resource.
Speaker 10: Sure. There's a lot of mail order companies that use the ScripTalk also, like OptumRX, which is what we use through United Healthcare. And so, that's helpful too. Not only do you get the information accessibly, but you don't have to go get the prescription, it comes in the mail.
Speaker 3: Ricky?
Speaker 10: All right, thank you.
Ricky: Yeah, thank you.
Speaker 3: Ricky, I'm not sure about CVS, but Walgreens has their own program, they don't use ScripTalk, they use their own-
Ricky: Okay, I'm not sure what they would do if you approached them and asked specifically for ScripTalk. That would be an interesting conversation. And it's strange they haven't really standardized. But accessible prescriptions is good no matter how you get it. Let's go to Lynn Snyder with a question.
Lynn Snyder: Hi. I had a couple of suggestions. For an accessible scale, I use something called the Beets BLU, and I think it's actually spelled B-E-E-T-S.
Lynn Snyder: And the app is quite accessible, and it even integrates with your health app. So yeah, I like it. And you do need to use it with the app, otherwise you won't get access. But yeah, it's pretty cool. I like it. And another thing that I wanted to suggest was a program called Lose It! I don't know if you ever heard of Lose It!, but it's a calorie tracker weight loss kind of app. And in the past year, I guess you could say, the developers have been quite responsive when I've asked for accessibility fixes.
Ricky: Excellent, that's always a good sign-
Lynn Snyder: It's a pretty complex program, it can do a lot of crazy stuff. And you have to kind of work with it a little bit. Kind of get used to it. But it does a great job. It has a huge database. You can put your own foods in. It keeps a list of all the foods that you have ever put in, so that you can... so it's easier for you to find what you're looking for. But then it also has a database. So, I think it's pretty good, and like I said the developers have been working with me, so that's really a positive thing, I think.
Ricky: For sure. Thanks so much for both of those things. Those too, will go right in the show notes, and I want to do a little research on that myself, because I'm always interested in knowing what good scales are out there. I keep waiting for them to tell me what I really want to hear. And for tracking apps, I'd definitely like to check those out. More often than not, I don't like them. But I do want to take a look at this one. So, appreciate that.
Lynn Snyder: Great.
Ricky: All right, we have time for one more, and it looks like 618 on the phone. It's going to be you. I'll unmute you.
Ricky: There we go.
Delila: This is Delila. I've got a comment and a question. My comment is that Walgreens have their own... they call it a Talking Pill Reminder. And it's a little device that they attach to each pill bottle, and they record on there the prescription name, the number, the number of refills, and how to take the medication and things like that. So, each time you get a prescription you'll get a new one of these Talking Pill Reminders on there. Which I kind of like, because then if I'm going out of town, I don't have to pack another, like a ScripTalk device along with me. I just have this right there on the bottle.
Ricky: Right there on the pill bottle, nice.
Delila: Right. And there's no charge or anything for those. And my question was, I use a treadmill a lot, and an exercise bike. And I have my iPhone. Have you found any particular place where to place your phone to get the most accurate readings when walking and bicycling?
Ricky: That is a great question and I know-
Delila: Sticking in the side of my sock, thinking that ought to be a good place. And then on the exercise bike, it has the handlebars that go back and forth, so I've attached it to my arm thinking, "Okay, this might work better."
Ricky: And that's what I would have suggested is that without an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, the iPhone does the best it can, but you may miss out on some of that. Especially if you don't have equipment that has the handlebars as well that move with you when you pedal or whatever. But, that was going to be my suggestion, and if anyone else has a suggestion, that's great. I was going to say yeah, strapping it to your wrist or your arm, and I think there are even some cases that do that.
Delila: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ricky: So, I wish it could be a little more accurate than it is. Sorry?
Speaker 3: For the best reading, I found that if you have a case with a belt clip, if you clip it onto your waist. If you have a belt or jeans that will handle the weight of it, that's going to be the best solution. A mark when your [inaudible].
Ricky: Will that work if you're sitting as well, like on a bike? I think it would certainly work on a treadmill or an elliptical, I'm not sure about the bike though.
Speaker 3: Yeah, because it's still getting the motion of your hips as you're peddling, so it's going to depict that motion. Like when you're going up and down the stairs.
Ricky: Okay, excellent. So you might try that.
Delila: Better than sticking it in my front pocket then.
Speaker 3: Yes. Because if you stick it in your front pocket, and if it's those shorts that work with what you're using, it loses contact with your body. So, it has to kind of have constant contact. And if you have it clipped to your waist, it's always having contact with the body. [inaudible]
Delila: Okay, thank you.
Ricky: Excellent. I hope that works out. And that's a neat trick for again, not everyone is going to have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit or something that they can wear on their wrist, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is the less technical approach of a talking pedometer, and then there's what we just discussed and kind of hoping that your phone will pick up your steps as you're riding or doing whatever it is that you're doing.
And that is going to bring us to a close for this evening. I want to thank everyone for joining us. It was a great discussion, and I love all the resources that you all shared, and the great questions that you have. If you want to send me something additional that you thought of just after the meeting closed. Or if you're listening to the archive and you want to contact me, you can do that. E-N-G-E-R at hadley.edu. And don't forget to check out our website and look at the other discussion groups that we have. Because we want to see you in more than one place. So, thank you again for joining us this evening. And I hope that you'll do so again next time.