Our international digital health and care ambassador, and recently-crowned world No1, Andy Murray, explains why he’s excited about the benefits the sector can provide to help everyone live better lives…
As a tennis player I'm always interested in anything that can improve my performance on court. The professional game is very competitive and anything that can help give you an advantage is important.
We already use products in my training that monitor my performance during a strength and conditioning session or on court session and then those are analysed to see how I'm performing, what I need to work on and when I need to rest.
I've been looking at various digital health technologies over the past couple of years as the industry develops and grows, and hopefully will be able to integrate more products into my routine and lifestyle as they come onto the market.
One development I would like to see is something to speed up recovery times. The tennis tour is pretty relentless. We play all year round and often don't have much time to recover between matches. My physios Shane and Mark are great at helping me get back on my feet after long games, but a tool that could help my body feel a bit less sore sometimes would be very helpful!
I'm also interested generally in the area of wearable technology and will be watching this space carefully though as I think there may be developments that could help my performance on and off court.
Of course, digital health can have benefits for everyone, not just professional athletes. I think people are showing more of an interest in their health and there are lots of simple tools that help them monitor their health and activities. Also they can give you fairly easy, achievable goals – like walking 10,000 steps a day that all of us should be able to do, and which can make a real improvement in things like heart health.
When a product can really change people's behaviour, that is an exciting step forward and a positive sign of things to come. For example, there is huge potential to tackle obesity through digital health and this is something that I'm really passionate about. In Scotland, there are major problems with obesity already and it's getting worse, particularly in children. It was great to see how a game like Pokemon Go could get children moving. Hopefully the big gaming companies can work on more products like that that tackle a health issue but in a fun way to engage young people.
The way this sector is going I think it's going to be huge. The fact that we've got organisations like the DHI promoting the sector and securing funding to instigate more digital health projects is going to really help the industry grow. I also work with Seedrs, a crowd funding platform that supports up and coming entrepreneurs and they are seeing more and more digital health projects coming live.
It's a very exciting time to be involved in this area.
Thanks for reading,