Review of the HydraCoach | Tech Medicine

Review of the HydraCoach

This is a brief review of the HydraCoach, an intelligent water bottle that measures how much you drink.

In my last post, I described the HydraCoach, which is marketed primarily to athletes and those concerned about maintain optimal hydration.

As a kidney specialist, my primary interest in the product was evaluating it for use in patients with kidney stones. In these patients, the recommended fluid intake is at least 24 - 30 oz three times daily, producing a urine output of at least 2.5 liters. Many people understandably have difficulty drinking this much water. I've reviewed many 24 hour urine collections which have shown urine outputs of less than 1.5 liters a day. This definitely increases the risk of future stones.

After using the Hydracoach for three days, I'd give it a thumbs up. After programming the digital display with your body weight, the program shows you your target fluid intake as well as the percentage of target achieved in either liters or ounces. Having it on my desk within easy reach definitely encouraged me to drink more. I gained a new appreciation for both how difficult it is for people to consume the goal fluid intake and how a digital readout could encourage people to achieve that goal.

A cardiologist who reads Tech Medicine nicknamed Huck also helpfully pointed out another possible use -- *restricting* fluid intake. In certain conditions (like SIADH), drinking too much water can lead to low blood sodium through dilution. These patients are usually restricted to 1 - 1.5 liters of fluid a day. The HydraCoach can also be programmed to a lower target level of fluid, allowing people on fluid restrictions to know when they've reached their target fluid intake. (Thanks, Huck.)
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Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.