Patients should be less engaged, not more

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Thomas.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]What, the very premise of ‘increasing consumer engagement’ doesn’t work? Whatever will all the (startups, websites, gamification, personalized health, behavior modification, Quantified Selfing) do?

What the chronically ill really want is less engagement with, less time spent on their particular condition or disease–certainly not to be forced into Sisyphean tasks. What this Editor has termed the ‘perpetual Battle of Stalingrad’ of self-monitoring (especially apparent in diabetes) means extra effort with minimal/no reward, never achieving ‘normal’ and never catching a break. Glen Tullman, former CEO of Allscripts and currently a healthcare investor with 7WireVentures, points out that the endless promotion of ‘consumer engagement’ is not only patronizing, but also wrong-headed in blaming the patient for not managing their illness their way. People want simply to live their lives, not their problems.

  • “What if we ask patients—or “health consumers” as I call them—to do less rather than more?” (more…)

Can startups learn from digital health’s flops?

The point may be debatable, but that doesn’t prevent Robin Raskin, founder of SilversSummit and Living in Digital Times, from making it. Keying off the summer edition of the Digital Health Summit, the CEOs of three well-known implosions–Zeo (the first big quantified self fail in sleep tracking, TTA 13 Mar 13), HealthRally(social networking/crowdfunding) and Healthrageous (personal health management, sold after it never fulfilled its promise to Humana, TTA 16 Oct 13) discussed their mistakes. Ten points plus each on video.Learning From Failure in the Digital Health Business (HuffPo)

2014: the year of reckoning for the ‘better mousetraps’

Or, the Incredible Immutability of the Gartner Hype Cycle

From Editor Donna, her take on the ‘mega-trend’ of 2014

This Editor expected that her ‘trends for next year’ article would be filled with Sensors, Wearables, Glasses, Smartwatches, 3D Printing, Tablets and Other Whiz-Bang Gizmos, with splashes of color from Continuing Crises like Healthcare.gov in the US, the NHS’ 3million lives plus ‘whither UK telecare’, various Corporate ‘Oops-ses’, IP/Patent Trolls and Assaults on Privacy. While these will continue to spread like storm debris on the beach, providing continuing fodder for your Editors (and The Gimlet Eye) to pick through, speculate and opine on, what in my view rises above–or is under it all–for 2014?

We are whipping past the 2012-13 Peak of Inflated Expectations in health tech…

…diving into the Trough of Disillusionment in 2014. Crystallizing this certainty (more…)

Much ado about Airo

A flurry of publicity has descended like early snow in the Rockies promoting the AIRO fitness band. Developed by three graduates of Canada’s University of Waterloo, it is building pre-delivery excitement (and pre-orders) around the band’s claimed unique capability to analyze post-eating effects and make recommendations. A mini-spectrometer built into the band uses light wavelengths to look into a person’s blood stream and detect the metabolites released during and after eating. Their program then analyzes the information and makes nutritional recommendations on your smartphone without any separate input of foods or calories. As far as this Editor knows, this is a first, along with using heart rate and caloric burn to measure exercise intensity and recovery. The ‘only health tracker you’ll ever need’ cuff also measures and reports on stress and sleep. The company is taking pre-orders at $149 in advance of the full DTC price of $200 (not sure if in Canadian or US dollars), but according to the FAQs delivery will not be until Fall 2014. For iPhones and Android.

Could Fitbit and Jawbone Up be getting the treatment they meted out to Zeo within a year? Will the spectrometer and blood analysis mean that the device will need FDA and Health Canada clearance? Inquiring minds want to know. Website, video, Business Insider article, CBS-TV Cleveland. (Editor Donna note that the pre-sale over a year in advance is essentially a crowdfunding strategy, but standalone it feels ‘take the money and run’ dodgy.)  Hat tip to reader Lois Drapin of The Drapin Group, New York.

Update 31 October: The somewhat sketchy credibility of this device has increased exponentially, in this Editor’s opinion, since the revelation that there is not a working prototype (due in December, according to the founder) and the spectrometer’s capability and accuracy of detecting blood metabolites non-invasively at the wrist may resemble junk science (MedCityNews). Brian Dolan concludes that as of this point, Airo cannot be what it’s cracked up to be in Mobihealthnews.

In smartwatch 2014 deluge news, Google is also nearing its smartwatch launch within months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The watch will incorporate the Google Now personal assistant.

Apple-ologists discern ‘new’ interest in health tech and telehealth

With the same obsession that Kremlinologists had during the Cold War, the Apple-ologists at 9to5Mac divine that Apple is now suddenly interested in the sensor-based fitness sector of telehealth. Recent remarks by their CEO have been examined like the mutterings of the Oracles at Delphi. Their SVP of Technologies has been spotted wearing a Nike FuelBand, just like the CEO–and by looking at his picture, he does need it! Apple Marketing folks have been examining wearables like the Jawbone UP! (naturally as competition, duh!) Far more indicative from their sources: An all-star team from semiconductors to batteries to sensors is working in secrecy on the long-awaited iWatch. Talent’s been snatched from telehealth sensor companies AccuVein (vein mapping), the recently defunct C8 MediSensors (blood monitoring), and Senseonics (embedded sensor for blood glucose).  And they are most interested in sleep tracking. iWatch’s novelty emerges as Apple taps sensor and fitness experts

Apple’s been interested all along in healthcare–and others have been interested in Apple

No surprise to TTA readers, as you’ve been tracking Apple’s and competition’s healthcare moves along with us from the start.

  • the iPad in hospitals and their preliminary tests starting in early 2011 when tablets were new and untried [TTA 8 Feb 2011]
  • Editor Steve on the Apple Smart Shoe US Patent application back in January
  • Samsung’s hype on healthcare devices and software on the new Galaxy S4–fitness tracking disruptor?
  • 5.5 million plus of health app downloads (US) from the App Store (May)
  • the development of many devices that are based on the iPhone (Misfit ShineAliveCor‘s ECG, the Ozcan microscope and food testers only a few)
  • …though Microsoft’s Surface for healthcare back in February is likely a dud–MS just wrote off $900 million with the Surface RT, lowered its price (though only a fool with money to burn would buy it) and the Pro continues to struggle (ZDNet)

Smartwatches as the 2013-2014 tablet…and will they knock out fitness bands?

But this press focus on ‘Apple for Health’ does disguise that Apple is behind the curve, not leading it, on the watch form factor. Just like the Soviets, Apple better get a move-on or lose the race that gets serious next year. Smartwatches are fast becoming the new tablet [TTA 2 July]. One rosy industry estimate has 5 million units sold by end of 2014 (Canalys Research in Gigaom). Sony’s been there for awhile. Pebble sold 275,000 pre-orders through Kickstarter, their web store and now retail through Best Buy. This week the rumor broke among the Microsoft-ologists that they are working on an aluminum smartwatch with a 1.5-inch screen and a band out of Star Trek IV. (The comments below the TechCrunch article on the very thought of smartwatches are a good chuckle!) And undoubtedly looking over their shoulder because they’re gaining on you, contrary to Satchel Paige’s advice, are Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike, wondering if they’ll be the next Zeo.