Connecting with Connected Health (PCHA Connected Health Conference)

click to enlargeGuest contributor JC Muyl attended the PCHA Connected Health Conference last week and contributed his thoughts on the event.

Last week I drove down from NYC to spend an afternoon at the Connected Health Conference (#CHC16) at the Gaylord Convention Center outside DC. The majority of my time was spent in the exhibit hall meeting digital health vendors.

I walked away fascinated by just how eclectic the digital health industry is. By approaching it from so many different angles, we’re bound to find some solutions that will stick. I thought I’d spread my optimism by sharing a sample of what I saw for those who couldn’t make it. Here’s my take on my day:

  • The most represented category was patient engagement solutions, probably as a function of the conference itself. Also, when you think about it, a proliferation of proactive patient engagement solutions makes sense in the context of value-based payments. What I like about patient engagement is that it has applications across multiple segments (payers, providers, employers, etc.) which means a bigger market. I met with the folks at Fitango Health (customizable care plans & member engagement), CareWire (member engagement via text), PokitDok (a development platform for care management / patient engagement), Utila (a text-based behavior health engagement solution) and Dacadoo (a cool health score app for patients based on proprietary algorithms).
  • Dacadoo was the play that felt most natively consumer-centric, especially because the user is able to track their health score in the app. The other solutions were for providers looking to manage and interact with patient populations. I like the notion of designing these products from the standpoint of how consumers want to navigate their healthcare experience.
  • In telehealth, I visited SwyMed, a ruggedized telehealth kit for emergency workers (makes a lot of sense), and VGo (see left above), a friendly-looking telehealth assistant that combined a Segway with a camera and a screen. They demoed how they could remotely drive it to the patient for a telehealth consult. I really think this product has legs…well wheels, actually! Seriously, it made me wonder how soon until we use drones to deliver meds & pick up samples?
  • I was surprised by the number of international companies: Medelinked from the UK, EarlySense from Israel, Voluntis from France, Dacadoo from Switzerland, most with a local presence here in the US. These foreign companies are usually pretty big in their home country, with a (clinically) proven product, yet are approaching the US market with the agility but also possibly the financial needs of a startup. I bet they would make good prospects for investors.

  • I liked the large Verizon booth with a half-dozen well-established digital health partners, including TigerText, a broadly used secure communication layer (text and other) within the clinical setting. The whole setup exuded a sense of gravitas – a good thing for our young industry.
  • There were more consumer product companies than I would have expected: EarlySense with a sensor that goes under your mattress to monitor breathing and pulse during sleep, WellnessCodes, an online store for various health products that payers or employers can roll out to their members, and SacknerWellness, whose product, GentleJogger helps bed-ridden patients move their feet to improve blood circulation.
  • Interestingly, I didn’t come across a lot of data interoperability companies, although I know Validic was there. I may have missed them as I didn’t visit every booth, but still, I would have expected to see more, particularly data and analytics companies geared towards segmenting patient populations for more precise patient engagement.

Overall, I felt the exhibit was a good opportunity to see how so many different digital health approaches could eventually converge and integrate for better patient care. Worth the drive from NYC.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn and is republished here with permission. JC Muyl is the owner of BrightHealth Group, a New York area-based company that specializes in digital health commercialization strategies, product launches, and strategic partnerships. His many years of healthcare experience include senior positions at Medivo and C3i. He may be reached at jcmuyl@brighthealthgroup.com, @JCMuyl. TTA was a media partner of this year’s PCHA CHC, starting in 2009 when it was the brand new mHealth Summit.

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