Lessons in health technology: How Erik upgraded his daily wellness routine

Heart health
Success Stories
February 15, 2024

Erik’s journey into connected health began with a smart scale acquired through an insurance incentive, which led to the creation of a comprehensive ecosystem of health devices. Read more about how Erik seamlessly integrated smart scales, watches, and thermometers into his daily routine, enhancing health tracking for himself and his family.

We met Erik Van Houten, 33—a devoted educator, athletic director, and family man living in Las Vegas—when he stopped by our booth at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the Las Vegas Convention Center. A long-time fan of Withings connected devices, he weaved health tracking technology into the fabric of his daily life, creating a seamless and positive impact on his health. 

Originally from Rochester, NY, upon graduating college, Erik Van Houten was offered a position in Las Vegas through Teach for America—a non-profit organization that recruits and trains highly qualified college graduates and professionals to teach in low-income communities to help combat educational inequity. Erik arrived in 2012 and he’s been there ever since, teaching 12th graders in East Las Vegas AP Government and university students Intro to Political Science at UNLV. Juggling these roles with family life, Erik discovered a connected health ecosystem to help maintain his well-being and support his active lifestyle.

How it started

Erik’s first encounter with a smart scale was via a Withings one he got in May 2019, a choice motivated by a health insurance incentive. The convenience of syncing data to the app made things easy. 

Wanting style to match the substance

Along with his scale, Erik had a basic fitness tracking band. But after living with it for five years Erik realized he wanted a smartwatch that complemented his style without being intrusive. One day he Googled “Smartwatches that don’t look silly” and he saw that the same company that made his scale also offered a stylish smartwatch. “I was after something cool,” Erik reminisces, “a watch that didn’t bombard me with alerts.” The promise of extended battery life meant he could track his sleep without the nightly charge ritual. When the ScanWatch became available, Erik was quick to upgrade. Its classic design and health-tracking features won him over, making it his go-to accessory for any occasion. “It’s amusing at weddings when you see someone in a suit wearing a less discreet smartwatch,” he laughs.

Erik has always been active and athletic, but his ScanWatch has prompted him to be even more competitive, pushing him to surpass his previous day’s achievements. “Seeing the data and trends over time in the app… It’s revolutionized how I view my health,” he shares. Erik noted how accurate the step counter on the ScanWatch is, and how it’s a stark contrast to his old fitness tracker. “With Withings, reaching 10,000 steps is a genuine accomplishment,” he asserts, noting that his previous tracker would count arm movements as steps, resulting in exaggerated numbers. This accuracy would someday serve another purpose. When Erik got an unexpected blood pressure result at the doctor’s office, he knew just where to go to help get to the bottom of it.

Blood pressure peaks and nervous streaks

The one device that gets used the least, but could be said to have a pretty high payoff is Erik’s smart blood pressure monitor, the BPM Connect. During his annual physical, Erik would get a high blood pressure reading every year, causing a bit of concern with his doctor. However, he had a gut feeling that it wasn’t an issue and sought proof that he was OK.

Being familiar with the Withings ecosystem, he felt he knew where to find an easy-to-use blood pressure monitor that would sync all his data to the same app where all his other data was living. Erik explains, “I remember the directions were one of the best times you should do it is right when you wake up in the morning. I did it right in the morning a few times and it was perfectly fine. I was like, OK, I’m good.” Confirming that it was what he expected—a case of white coat syndrome where he was just nervous at the doctor’s office—he showed his doctor his blood pressure results in the Withings app. It’s since streamlined conversations with his doctor, “Now I can get straight to the point with my doctor, backed by reliable data,” he explains. 

Little did he know that wasn’t the only device that would help him in an unusual circumstance. 

How a tool from his medicine cabinet became a pandemic game-changer

As athletic director at the high school, Erik faced the challenge of ensuring the safety of his soccer team during the pandemic. With strict procedures in place nationwide, no-contact thermometers were in high demand. Thankfully, Erik had also purchased a Withings Thermo through his health insurance incentive program before the pandemic, and it emerged as an unlikely hero—allowing Erik to quickly and accurately check each player’s temperature before games. It became a staple in his toolkit, providing peace of mind and allowing the team to focus on the game, not the virus.

Devices that adapt to a growing family

A lot has changed since those hard times during the pandemic, in more ways than one. Erik and his wife now have a 16-month-old daughter. His wife got on the Withings bandwagon during her pregnancy using Pregnancy Mode on their smart scale and then graduated to Baby Mode once their daughter was born. And now, the whole family can use it.

The next step in home health monitoring

Always finding new ways to stay active, Erik is taking skating lessons to better his hockey skills and is excited to put his ScanWatch to use during the upcoming track and field season with his high school students. We asked him what he would want next from Withings and he referenced the new home health/telehealth device he saw demonstrated at the Withings CES booth. “I think what I’m excited about is the BeamO…with BeamO you can say, ‘Here’s all the information’, and it’s just so much quicker than having to see the doctor in person. I am definitely getting BeamO when it comes out. I have my eye on that.”

Learning how Erik has seamlessly woven Withings into his life—from personal health to his work and family—was seeing our vision come to life. His dedication to education and well-being inspires us to stay true to our mission of creating simple-to-use, smart solutions that support meaningful lives.