The CES of Health: post-scripts

It’s Everywhere, Everyday, Disruptive, Not Impressive and Still ‘Bicycles for Fish’.

Neil Versel’s first major article recaps the Digital Health Summit ‘Point of Care Everywhere’ panel with Dr. Joseph Kvedar of Partners HealthCare/Center for Connected Health, Walter De Brouwer, founder and CEO of Scanadu (the tri-corder everyone’s waiting for) and Laura Mitchell, VP of business development at ‘grizzled pioneer’ in telecare and telehealth GrandCare Systems. The key is integration–for Dr. Kvedar, making it ‘about life, personal and social’; for Mr. DeBrower, bringing digital health into the home; for Ms. Mitchell, persuading long-term-care providers that technology provides useful, actionable information. Some surprises here: Scanadu will be shipping 8,800 units in March to its Indiegogo supporters and is going into a Scripps Health clinical trial; Dr. Kvedar admitted that the latest CCH startup, social wellness site Wellocracy [TTA 30 Oct] is “still searching for its audience.” The headline is “Mobile health has a lot of power, but it’s raw and new”–but is that helpful in positioning it to the Big Users–payers, pharma, providers–who are not all that daring? Mobihealthnews 

Everyday Health with the Digital Health Summit announced on Thursday their 2014 awards for innovation to five US companies for ‘achievement in technology innovation aimed at improving health outcomes.’ They include Scanadu but also four less heralded companies:

  • SmartWatch by Smart Monitor which serves as a safety net for patients prone to convulsions, seizures and tremors. A wearable device used in conjunction with a smartphone app of patented algorithms, it alerts in advance to patterns of repetitive shaking movements enabling intervention, and also tracks episodes.
  • The Dexcom G4 PLATINUM, the longest continuous glucose monitor approved for up to 7 days’ use.
  • Cityzen Sciences Smart Monitoring Shirt which monitors heart rate, temperature, activity, localization and more for both fitness and in-home.
  • And in the ‘healthy company’ category, trucking firm Prime Inc. with its Driver Health and Fitness (DHF) program using digital health technology to combat metabolic syndrome that affects 83 percent of five million truck drivers in the US.

Forbes went looking for Five Most Disruptive Technologies and most everything they found intersected with healthcare tech: embedded sensors/MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), wearables, exponential energy (solar power, storage batteries). Even immersive interfaces (virtual reality) is part of Google Glass and rehabilitation technologies derived from the Kinect. Driverless vehicles are disruptive and initially escaped a healthcare connection in your Editor’s brain. You’ll need driverless for your overall health if your dashboard becomes One Huge Distracting Tablet minding your BP, allergy alerting, handling your phone calls, previewing Elvis Radio on the Sirius XM satellite feed and allowing you to order food delivery as reports indicate we’ll increasingly see. But wouldn’t driverless vehicles be ideal to reduce the isolation and dependence of older people with impairments which interfere with safe driving, and live in areas where a car is needed?

The New York Times sent its blogger Nick Bilton to CES and his wrapup (see sidebar for earlier posts) is a damp paean to the CES that used to premiere Big New Things. Now it’s a lot of tweaks, ‘revolutionary’ tech such as giant curved video screens that have a limited market and wearables, 90 percent of which in Forrester’s estimation will flop. But hasn’t every CES been like this, only now there are far thinner margins? And for the perceptive reader (and innovator), note that the real business is being done in hotel suites, meeting the right people–and crashing the right parties (plus getting it tweeted.)  Hat tip to reader Al Mercuro of Skyline Genesis trade show displays and management, who knows a thing or two about trade shows.

Moving health tech away from ‘bicycles for fish’ to ‘disappearing into the background’: We returning to a writer featured in our first CES of Health article–Lisa Suennen of Psilos Group, who cleverly coined ‘The Internet of Wearable Things’. After a good dose of the Crush and Rush of CES, and the Hoopla of Heavily Huzzahed Gadgets Screaming ‘Look At Me’, to make it all work it’s People Who Need People. What’s needed beyond the gadget is ‘human-centered services’ a/k/a human factors. Much technology chatter centers on eliminating people (except patients and payers) from the healthcare equation to save money–a view advocated by investor Vinod Khosla who would dearly like to eliminate doctors, the more equivocally viewed ‘efficiency innovations’ in Clayton Christensen’s cyclical model.  In thinking about the patient ‘longitudinally’, Ms. Suennen advocates ‘convergence’ but not in the usually understood data crunching sense. Rather, companies will move toward merging health IT, medical devices and healthcare service delivery. The patient wins (outcomes) and everyone else wins in better business.  And the technology? Ms. Suennen quotes the aim of Don Jones of Qualcomm“Good technology disappears into the background.” It’s a read for the weekend to ponder. Published in Pat Salber’s The Doctor Weighs In. Hat tip to Lois Drapin via LinkedIn.

Previously in TTA’s CES coverage: Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Monday, the Bosch-Remedy Health Buddy Web and Preview


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