Guest Column

Personal health monitoring: The key to a long, healthy life


With advances in wearables technology, the demand for physical health monitoring has increased. In particular, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on monitoring individual health has greatly increased, resulting in a significant increase in the demand for wearable devices such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit.

Advanced wearable sensors in these devices have flexible, remote, portable and timely capabilities to monitor vital signs and physiologic data. Wearable sensors can monitor vital signs continuously and in real-time, including heart rate, activity level, respiratory status and sleep. Advances in new materials, advanced manufacturing and flexible electronics technologies have improved comfort, real-time and precision and expanded the range of applications.

The vital signals monitored via flexible wearable sensors can be used by the user to decrease damage during exercise, rehabilitation and daily life.

At UNF, we have developed a new health indicator using data collected by wearables and remote patient monitoring devices. We have studied a cohort of elderly home-based population and a group of athletes in multiple sports. We have gathered data over the past two years. The data gathered included heart rate, VO2 max, heart rate variance, weight, activity level, sleep patterns and general wellness and injury status.

Using the five main parameters of heart status, activity level, BMI, sleep patterns, activity minutes and status of disease condition, we have developed a Personal Health Index (PHI).

The PHI is calculated on a daily basis with scores assigned from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better the overall fitness and health parameters are. An algorithm calculates individualized PHI by considering factors such as age, sex and disease status.

Our research explored the potential of continuous remote patient monitoring to improve performance by providing individualized recommendations for lifestyle changes. The Personal Health Index (PHI) score is what we want to see every day when we wake up in the morning. The goal of the PHI score is to show a singular number that is an indicator of how good your overall health is for that day.

Monitoring the daily PHI score and maintaining it in the optimal zone will assure that the overall personal health and fitness is being properly maintained. It is a daily report card on your wellness status.

Several studies have shown that maintaining the correct activity, heart condition and adequate sleep results in a longer life expectancy as well as a lower likelihood of cognitive decline with age. Since the PHI score is an individualized score for each user, it is the easiest and effective way to assure that your health is maintained for the best outcomes.

We have also designed a customized phone app that displays the PHI and specific recommendations for daily improvement. Personalized coaching is also available for those desiring expert review.

All of these approaches are geared to provide you with all the tools and resources to succeed in improving your health and fitness with better outcomes.

Shyam Paryani, MD, MHA is the Director of Community Engagement and Director of the Executive Master of Health Administration Program at UNF. He is also the lead researcher of Personal Health Monitoring. For more information, contact