Join the Live Chat with Healthcare Experts to Learn About In-car Health and Wellness

As Americans take a more active role in managing their health and well-being, our researchers are taking a leading role in developing a series of health and wellness in-car connectivity solutions designed to empower people with self-help information while they drive.

Leveraging Ford SYNC® and its ability to connect devices via Bluetooth, access cloud-based Internet services and control smartphone apps, we are taking charge in this automotive whitespace area, developing industry-first voice-controlled in-car connections to an array of health aids from glucose monitoring devices, diabetes management services, asthma management tools and Web-based allergen alert solutions.

You can join a panel of healthcare experts here in a live chat on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. EST to ask questions and learn more about in-car health and wellness.

Here is a little background on each of the live chat panel participants:

Anand K. Iyer, Ph.D, MBA, President & Chief Operating Officer, WellDoc

Dr. Anand Iyer serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of WellDoc. He has more than 20 years of consulting, industrial and academic experience in the areas of business strategy development, network engineering, economic modeling, service development and value network analysis. He is a pioneer in the realm of Telematics and Telemedicine, where he has developed and launched several initiatives with OEMs to transition their basis of competition from a product-base to a service-base.

Jody Fisher, Vice President, Marketing, SDI

Jody Fisher oversees all of SDI’s external marketing initiatives as well as new product development. He has been a significant contributor to, and business designer of, many of SDI’s key healthcare product lines and was the primary business architect for SDI’s prescription tracking services. In addition to, SDI produces over 60 Web-based services and products, including, another popular site for America’s allergy-suffering public that focuses on allergy-causing plants and features county-level maps of these species.

Health of mind, body and spirit is a significant slice of a larger global health and wellness trend that is transcending multiple generations, spectrums and industries. So-called healthy homes, allergen-free cleaners and products, and the cosmetic and bariatric surgery boon, for example, are all converging to create an eclectic mash-up that is redefining health and wellness for today’s consumer.

An underlying consumer demand for being in the know about one’s health while on the go also continues to rise, fueling the growing number and breadth of mobile healthcare devices and health- and fitness-related software and smartphone applications hitting the market today.

To create relevant in-car features and services for those living with these ailments, we are working with experts in these fields, including medical device manufacturers, healthcare management service providers and Web-based medical alert services.

Ford SYNC offers three unique ways to bring health and wellness connected services into the car:

  • Device connectivity via Bluetooth – Leveraging Bluetooth, medical devices can be connected to the car to share information through SYNC, just like a driver connects and accesses his or her cellphone and address book by voice control
  • Cloud-based services – Ford created an off-board network of location-based traffic, directions and information providers that drivers can simply access via their cellphone. Known as SYNC Services, new services such as medical services can be easily added through this plug-and-play voice-controlled capability
  • AppLink – the latest SYNC innovation allows smartphone apps to be accessed by drivers via voice control. The SYNC application programming interface (API) allows app developers to enable their apps to communicate through SYNC, delivering a smarter way for drivers to manage apps while driving

The ongoing Ford health and wellness research projects encompassing these needs include:

  • Glucose monitoring: Working with Medtronic, a leading manufacturer of glucose monitoring devices, Ford researchers have developed a prototype system that allows Ford SYNC to connect via Bluetooth to a Medtronic continuous glucose monitoring device and share glucose levels and trends through audio and a center stack display and provide secondary alerts if levels are too low.
  • Allergy alerts: Ford is working with SDI Health and to SYNC-enable its smartphone Allergy Alert app through AppLink, giving users voice-controlled access to the app that provides location-based day-by-day index levels for pollen; asthma, cold and cough and ultraviolet sensitivity; as well as four-day forecasts.
  • WellDoc: Ford and WellDoc, a recognized leader in the emerging field of mHealth integrated services, have joined forces to integrate in-car accessibility to WellDoc’s comprehensive cloud-based personalized solutions for those with asthma and diabetes through SYNC Services. Using voice commands, SYNC users could access and update their WellDoc profile to receive real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and medication adherence support based on their historic and current disease information.

Ford is also examining other more long-term health and wellness technologies and ideas related to, for example, heart rate, relaxation and reducing stress. Ford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have long been studying the correlation between stressors and driving performance, wrapping up a nine-month advanced research project last fall that showed drivers are less stressed when using selected vehicle technologies such as Ford active park assist and cross-traffic alert.

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Joe Carter If ford is developing an App for diabetics, then they have just gained a customer for life. I have a 14 year old son who went into a diabetic coma when he was only 2 and we almost lost him. He will have type 1 diabetes the rest of his life, and this is amazing to hear that Ford is doing this. Ford needs to advertise this, get Mike Rowe to do a commercial, picture him saying 'you know what is really dirty...Diabetes...but Ford Motor Company is developing.....I only found this article during reasearch for my marketing class. Let the public know Ford....Diabetes is terrible and companies such as yourself deserve to get praise and support......
3 year(s) ago via
Rita Lee I think that this is an awesome idea. It would be very helpful to so many diabetics and their families. The only people that would complain about this would be someone who does not have a loved one with diabetes.
3 year(s) ago via
Kelly Harp You seriously don't know what it means to me to have you working on the diabetes app. I have a 7 year old daughter that wears Minimed pump and CGM, it would be so awesome for that information to be displayed. When she falls asleep in the, I hate thinking is she passed out from a low or just asleep. If you could get this to work, diabetic mom's accross the country would LOVE you. My husband works for Ford so we are already loyal Ford owners. I also love all Ford does for Juvenile Diabetes! Seriously Ford is an A+ car company.
3 year(s) ago via
Bill I don't know if this solves a problem. I am a type 1 person with diabetes and if I was low, and had to speak with my car for several minutes before driving. I think my blood sugar would drop lower based on confusion and frustration. Would I want to talk to an automated phone service while low? I don't think so.
3 year(s) ago via
christine lehrer As a mother of a 20 year old diabetic, I just really wanted to say Thank You to Ford for the ingenuity and braveness they are showing in this partnership. Hayley has been diabetic since age 7, and when she hit the milestone of turning 16, and driving, it was such a difficult time for us to trust her driving. As time goes by, diabetics lose the ability to feel when their blood sugars drop off significantly. This worries us to no end, and yet, we realize the importance of Hayley feeling independent and needing to be able to do something we all take for granted, to safely drive her car. Our family takes pride in being long time Ford owners and we trust the quality name you've made for yourselves, especially over the last few years, among your competitors. Thank you, so incredibly much, for the article and please pass this along to anyone who matters at Ford--who is involved in this are making history and lots of parents of diabetics are watching, and impatiently waiting. Chris Lehrer-Menasha, WI
3 year(s) ago via
Joshua Hunter More power to you Ford on your options. Even though I refuse to buy gadets in my mustang and am a tad upset that I HAD to buy power windows in her cause theres no option for manual windows.... thats OK cause Ford/Roush put 430hp in her to make up for it.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Leighann I think some of the commenters thus far are missing the point. Insulin-dependent type 1 diabetics can have low blood sugars which can cause them to become dizzy and even pass out. If Sync could read their continuous glucose monitor and warn them that their blood sugar is dropping, the person could pull over and ingest some glucose. This could actually prevent accidents, rather than cause them.
3 year(s) ago via
Ford Motor Company @Ryan Maybe so, but diabetics face a significant health risk that goes beyond just weight. Low blood sugar while driving can be a hazard for the driver as well as other motorists, and this provides them peace of mind that they can be notified via the vehicle if their condition is deteriorating. We've made it easy to understand with an infographic: As for turn by turn directions, that's great that your phone can do that, but not everyone has a smartphone. Our SYNC system works regardless of the device and allows drivers to be given audio commands through the vehicle's sound system. We've been offering SYNC in our vehicles since 2007.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Christopher B Hindle Health & Wellness from a car - just don't!
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Ryan Garbe As others have said, just another ploy to get into the consumer's pocketbook. My $5 bathroom scale can tell me I'm unhealthy and my phone can give turn by turn directions.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Miguel Raul N. Pagtalunan Nice.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Eddie-Michelle Howard love it GO FORD !!
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Jim Graham Going way too far with tech...not good use
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Wayne Bennett Who is running these partnerships at Ford?
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Ford Motor Company @Johnny: You might be interested to know that we use plenty of steel in our cars, as well as high-strength boron steel, which is not only lighter but stronger.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Dave Evans roflol... Really though, Ford--set yourself up for that one 20 years ago.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Ford Motor Company @Gavin It's pronounced "Ford Probe." ;-)
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Gavin Allan The anal probe isn't gonna be very comfortable on long trips.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Allen Rodriguez Another great way to cause accidents! If texting while driving is outlawed, shouldn't this be too?
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Brent Henry I like many of the unique and well designed technology aspects like Sync which actually allows drivers to be less distracted as they go hands free while communicating with others in a call, but health care and well being while driving??? I am sorry but I don't see this as a need or want by anyone, who wants to figure out their health problems and well being while driving? I think Ford could spend more time and money on other aspects, lets leave the Healthcare issues for outside the car!
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Greg Lacey If your so smart,you should know how to spell right?
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Johnny Walker It's just another fancy gadget to take people's attentions off the road and onto a tiny screen. If you need to know these linds of things, wait til you get home and look at it on your computer,,,,NOT while you're out there in traffic jepardizing the health and welfare of the rest of us. Be done with the gadgetry already. Some of us are smart enough to know it's another ploy to get into our wallets.
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Susan Pepper More amazing innovation from Ford!
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Tyler Rezachek second
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
Robert Dolehite No Comment.... The Engineers need to go out and do actually work on the cars they are designing .........
3 year(s) ago via Facebook
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