Revolution Part II: Revenge of the Calculators


This entry is the second of a series to review the website of Revolution Health. Revolution health is attempting to provide a community and a set of tools enabling people to take responsibility for their health, in cooperation with healthcare practitioners and researchers.

Being a mathematician at heart (my Ph.D. is in mathematical statistics), I gravitated toward the calculators. There are, in fact, there types of tools: calculators, assessments, and trackers. I’ll look at the trackers today. From the website’s context-sensitive help, a calculator is “a quick and easy way to assess your health and lookup health information.”

So, for example, if you want to find your Body Mass Index, BMI, you can enter your height and weight. Not only do you get your BMI(Body Mass Index), you can save it to a tracker (to track progress over time) or get advice (and links) based on where you are in the range of the BMI(Body Mass Index). In Web 2.0 tradition, you can rate the tool and read the comments. The only issue I’ve had with it is that they don’t post the formula and a reference when the tool comes up. There is a small discussion of the drawbacks of relying on BMI after the calculation has been performed, as well a public commenting on the tool, but I think the concept can be strengthened by adding a discussion up front about the use of the tool to manage health, including both advantages and drawbacks.

Especially interesting is the amount of activity needed to lose one pound. You can select from a variety of activities including household chores, sex, bicycling, sports, and conditioning (except yoga 😦 ), enter your weight, and out pops the number of minutes you have to do that activity to lose one pound of weight. Again, I would find it helpful to post what assumptions and formulas they used for the tool.

Additional calculators include cigarette cost per year, (just the cigarettes, not the additional healthcare costs associated), stroke risk, heart attack risk, fertility, and the amount of activity needed to lose weight.

Previous entries in this series:

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2 Responses

  1. Hi John, this is Julie from Revolution Health. Thanks very much for the feedback on the trackers and calculators. All great suggestions that make a good deal of sense. Keep the feedback coming!

  2. […] Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Vaccines, thepreface […]

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