Technological Artifact: Deyanira Tovar

The technological artifact I chose for this project is a heart rate tracker. I was born 5 months premature and as a result, suffered life-long heart complications. Because of this, throughout my childhood and adolescence, I would meet periodically with my doctor to review my health. However, more recently, a heart rate tracker has been made available to me.

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Photo by Deyanira Tovar, August 2018.

For me personally, my heart rate tracker has been a vital piece of technology that has recently been of great use in my life. Not many people know of what this heart monitor is or what it is for when they first see it. My heart monitor is a small blue device that I wear which tracks my heart rate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A phone application which is connected to the tracker then has a screen in which I can see my heart rate in real time. More importantly, the app has a variety of options that I can press whenever I feel any issues related to my hearts health. These options include fatigue, slow/fast heart rate, chest pain, etc. Once I click any of these options, my selection and heart rate information will be sent to an agency which tracks my results. At the beginning of the next month. the results will be sent to my doctor who will review them for any heart rate abnormalities. For me personally, before having this device available to me, I would have to periodically meet with a cardiologist who would run tests, including checking my heart rate for a long period of time, to keep track of my health.

Reading about the mission of the Media Archeology Lab made me think of just how limited health-related technology used to be and how it may have affected the diagnosis of conditions, specifically, heart conditions.  In the past, heart rate monitors were  usually only available in hospitals or by use of a doctor. Now, heart rate monitors are widely available for a variety of purposes. However, medically, with the new heart rate application, people who suffer from heart related health-issues are now able to not only track their heart rate, but they are able to pinpoint the exact symptoms they feel. They are then able to late discuss their results with doctors and check for any other heart related issues. Beforehand, patients who experienced chest pains or other symptoms related to their heart health had to go into a doctors office or hospital to discuss this. Often times, by the time patients were able to have their heart rate tracked, the symptoms would not be present, and therefore, their heart rate results would not accurately correlate to their symptoms. This would be frustrating on both parties, and would lead to the late diagnosis of heart conditions. Furthermore, it was a lot more difficult for patients to communicate and track their symptoms before going to a doctor, and doctors were limited to they ways in which they tracked a patients symptoms. Leading to oftentimes, a delayed or even false diagnosis. This new technology has changed the world medically, and has had an immense impact on my life.

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