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While many people associate the Johnson & Johnson name with baby shampoo and bandages, the 130-year-old company is also working at the cutting edge of digital technology. From an app that can forecast seasonal allergies to a digital coach for people undergoing knee surgery, here are four ways Johnson & Johnson is using the latest technology to help improve health.


1. The app that can help you anticipate the onset of allergies

Seasonal allergies have a tendency to sneak up on you: One day, you’re feeling totally fine—and the next, you’re a runny nose, red-eyed mess, at which point popping an allergy pill seems almost moot.

“We looked at when consumers were buying and taking their allergy medications and found that, for some reason, they were taking them when the pollen count was low and that seemed a little off,” says Sean Belke, Associate Brand Manager for Zyrtec. “Consumers didn’t really have the information they needed to understand what the allergy situation would be for them on a given day in their region.”

The AllergyCast app helps solve that problem by providing the pollen count each day for your zip code, along with an “allergy impact number.” Thanks to a proprietary algorithm, the app uses multiple factors—such as weather and social media mentions of allergies in your zip code—to give you an idea of how likely you are to have symptoms each day.


2. A wearable tracker that can help you manage rheumatoid arthritis

As part of their goal to produce more integrated solutions that can help people live better lives and better manage disease, Johnson & Johnson has been working on a solution designed to help patients cope with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: the second prototype of a mobile app called RA-RA (Remote Assessment in Rheumatoid Arthritis) is headed into a clinical trial soon for testing.

RA-RA works in tandem with popular wearable activity trackers, like a FitBit or Garmin, to collect such behavioral and health information as heart rate, steps taken, sleep duration and daily levels of joint pain. Taken together, these details can indicate how well (or not) medication is working, and whether a patient’s condition is worsening or improving.

This app allows patients to monitor their progress every day in between doctor visits, which they can then share with their doctor to provide a more detailed picture of their overall health.


3. The app that can help you monitor your glucose levels

For people living with diabetes, staying on top of their blood sugar (a.k.a. blood glucose) numbers can be stressful. But a new-and-improved version of Johnson & Johnson’s OneTouch Reveal mobile app, which will launch by mid-2017 on iOS and Android, can help make that process faster and easier than ever.

“If you use a OneTouch Verio Flex blood glucose meter, which has Bluetooth wireless communication embedded, then you can download this app and use it to connect to your meter,” says Michael Weinberger, Senior Director, R&D, Digital Product Development.

As you test your blood sugar over time, the app can help you visualize trends in your numbers—for instance, you may notice that your levels tend to run high between 2 pm and 3 pm —enabling you to better manage your glucose levels. The app allows you to do share your data with your doctor and set up alerts as well.


4. A digital ecosystem that can help identify if you’re a candidate for knee surgery

It takes the average person 7 to 11 years from the moment that she first feels knee pain to schedule surgery to help treat it.

“But for people who will ultimately need surgery, there’s a lot of clinical data showing that having it sooner rather than later leads to better outcomes,” says Amy Foley, Vice President, Product Innovation & Delivery. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has created an interactive way to accelerate surgical consults for people with knee pain who meet certain criteria.

First, they can visit to answer questions about their pain, such as how intense it is and how long they’ve had it. Then, using those results and predictive analytics, the site can provide personalized treatment advice, whether it’s to consult with a doctor about surgery or other therapies.

Patients who are surgical candidates at participating hospital systems will also be able to download the Health Partner Digital Surgical Companion, a free app launching in 2017 that can help prepare them for surgery and recovery with targeted tips based on answers to key questions.

Similar systems for people considering hip or bariatric surgery are also in the works and scheduled to become available by the end of 2017—because when it comes to healthier living through technology, the possibilities are endless.

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