CES POV: Democratizing Healthcare: How the Connected Body Levels the Health Playing Field

Ross Quinn, Director Customer Solutions, FCB Health

Home-based technology plays a few major roles in healthcare management. It allows for:

  • Quick disease detection and prevention
  • The ability to make more informed decisions
  • Alignment and connection between HCPs and patients

CES keynote speaker Robert Ford, Chairman of the Board and CEO at Abbott, said we are in the age of human-powered health. And not only is it human-powered, like everything else, it is “on-demand!” The connected body is driving immediacy and action. Also, Abbott became the first healthcare company to keynote CES!

And nowhere has this been more evident than where we are now with the COVID-19 pandemic.  What are we doing before meeting with parents and grandparents? Getting rapid COVID tests. And that technology was enhanced when eMed brought together the Abbott rapid test and United, American, and Delta Airlines to provide the rapid test in a compliant way for international travel. This is a great example of using technology as a diagnostic tool to guide healthcare decisions:

  • Is it COVID-19, or a cold, or the flu, or both?
  • Can I visit my grandparents?
  • Can I board a plane? Should I board a plane?

The 411 before calling 911

Connected healthcare is all about providing people with the information they need. By giving people options in how their health data is presented, new technology provides patients with a choice to improve their health and act upon it. And by putting that data and choice in the home (vs in the clinical environment) makes it more relevant and accessible.

70% Of Today’s Medical Decisions Are Based on Diagnostic Tests1
(14 billion laboratory tests are ordered annually)

Leveraging technology for at-home diagnostics helps us make smarter health decisions. Your child is playing soccer and gets hit in the head. Is it a concussion? Do you need to make an emergency room visit? As you know, time is of the essence. Soon, you will be able to use Abbott’s i-STAT TBI Plasma test to see if it’s a traumatic brain injury through a blood sample in 15 minutes. It’s currently available to HCPs using a plasma test—data to make informed decisions.

This is just one of the many tools that empower people to make the right healthcare decisions.  CES has their CES Innovation Awards program honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. The program recognizes honorees in a multitude of consumer technology product categories and distinguishes the highest rated in each.

In the healthcare category, there were around 80 honorees in a few key areas of focus:

  • Diagnostics: There was a strong focus in the area of diabetes. Whether it was testing blood-sugar levels without drawing blood, even continually through a watch, or a tubeless device that automatically delivers insulin and adjusts the amount needed
  • Disease Prevention: Getting a good night’s sleep seems to be top of mind these days.  Plus, sleep apnea is growing rapidly. It’s estimated that more than 18 million Americans have it.2  That is probably why 10 of the 80 products address sleeping issues. From a pillow that senses breathing patterns and expands and contracts to open airways, to a pad that monitors an infant’s breathing patterns while sleeping to detect suffocation
  • Vitals: There are many devices that track details like heart rate, breathing rate, motion, and presence. These could work virtually and without contact, or could work via the use of a device that turns your wearable data (like heart rate) into 3D imagery to make it easier to understand, digest, and drive decisions
  • Information: Bottom line, diagnostics is all about providing the right information so a problem can be detected, avoided, or addressed, but it’s not just about a disease. Leda Health created an early evidence collection kit for sexual assault survivors with documentation and swab collection tools, assisted by an iOS/Android mobile application and backed by a 24/7 Care Team of licensed clinicians and advocates

And of course, we can’t forget about our pets! This smart collar not only tracks where your dog is, but can monitor respiration and heart rate. Have you ever wondered if your cat’s eye looks odd?  Or another body part? Well, take a picture with this app and artificial intelligence will inform you whether or not there are any eye- or skin-disease–related symptoms, which will allow you to get preventative diagnosis and treatment.

Democratizing Healthcare

In the end, empowering patients to manage their health any place at any time levels the playing field for getting quality care. It provides all patients, with and without chronic conditions, with a level of independence and confidence and remote monitoring and connectivity. And it can drive earlier intervention and prevention.

How long till a 15-minute test won’t be called “rapid?”

Watch to hear more of our insights from CES 2022.